Šestý smysl: 1 Does sixth sense exist? Deepak Bagai H

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Does sixth sense exist?


Deepak Bagai


Humans have five basic senses, which enable them to interact with the outside world. These are: hearing, smell, sight, taste, and touch. Many people seem to possess a sixth sense (psychic sense). This (sixth sense) helps people to sense information beyond the domain of five senses, and have claimed to predict the future, sense spirits and read others mind.

The term sixth sense was coined by the German scientist Dr Rudolf Tischner in 1920. He defined this as an Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) which include telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, retrocognition and psychometry.

Telepathy refers to mind-to-mind communication. Clairvoyance is the ability to see things not available by known senses. Precognition is the power to foresee future events, Retrocognition is the strength to see past events and psychometry is the power to know the history of an object.

Every person has experienced sixth sense at some point or other during his or her lives. The degree varies from individual to individual. It is still not known how the sixth sense operates, and it is not associated with any of the body organs. This leads to the conclusion that the process is entirely mental involving human soul or the subconscious mind.

Scottish researchers claim to have found scientific proof for communication among spiritual mediums. Prof Archie Roy concludes that mediums communicate using more than the five normal senses. In his experiments the communication was established using a microphone and the identities of all involved were physically separated in different rooms and kept confidential. The research is still on to prove how the medium actually transmits this information. If there is an emotional tie between two individuals, the medium can pick the signals. This can be compared to the transmission of radio signals.

The only person who can certify this phemomenon is the one who actually receives the message. Researchers at Germany’s Freiberg University seem to have evidence in support of the existence of sixth sense.

Some researchers refer sixth sense to be an instinct. Animals and the insects use it all the time. The intuitive human mind wants empirical evidence for all the traits. Further, the empirical evidence is not separated from other five senses.

There are lot of examples, like radio waves, where we cannot perceive things with our five senses. Certain high pitch voices are there, which only the dogs can hear. It took years of research to prove that there exist things called "germs". These are beyond the purview of the five basic senses. We cannot see, taste, feel, hear or smell germs on our hands.

There are number of evidences, where the dogs have warned their masters of some potential mishappening. Many animals get nervous before an earthquake is to occur. This may be attributed either to their sixth sense or vibration sensory powers, more sensitive than humans.

It has been reported that the animals’ "sixth sense" saved them from recent tsunami disaster. Sri Lankan wildlife officials have said the giant waves that killed over 24,000 people along the Indian Ocean island’s coast seemingly missed wild beasts, with no dead animals found. The waves washed floodwaters upto two miles inland biggest wildlife reserve of Srilanka, hosting hundreds of wild elephants and leopards, but not a single body of any animal was found. There are many reports of birds detecting impending disasters.

There are numerous stories of people having dreams that later came true to some extent. Abraham Lincoln is said to have dreamt of his death, days before he was assassinated. A completely blind Britisher has been shown to possess "sixth sense" which enables him to recognise emotions on people’s faces. Brain scans of the blind person revealed that when the man looked at faces depicting emotion, it activated a part of his brain called the right amygdala, which responds to non-verbal emotional signals.

The research to prove the existence of sixth sense is going on. For verification, the phenomenon must be measurable and repeatable. The drawback with sixth sense is that it is impossible to repeat experiments with it. The more the person attempts to use his sixth sense, the less it seems to work.

All the medical explanations have failed for near death experiences. "Cybersense" has already emerged as a weak link between the five senses and the sixth sense. The inventions of modern times were research topics a few years back. The research on sixth sense will pave the way for facts and conclusions related to this intuitive sense

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'Mindsight' could explain sixth sense


Some people may be aware that a scene they are looking at has changed without being able to identify what that change is. This could be a newly discovered mode of conscious visual perception, according to the psychologist who discovered it. He has dubbed the phenomenon "mindsight".

Ronald Rensink, based at the University of British Columbia in Canada, showed 40 people a series of photographic images flickering on a computer screen. Each image was shown for around a quarter of a second and followed by a brief blank grey screen. Sometimes the image would remain the same throughout the trial; in other trials, after a time the initial image would be alternated with a subtly different one.

In trials where the researchers manipulated the image, around a third of the people tested reported feeling that the image had changed before they could identify what the change was. In control trials, the same people were confident that no change had occurred. The response to a change in image and control trials was reliably different.

Our visual system can produce a strong gut feeling that something has changed, Rensink says, even if we cannot visualise that change in our minds and cannot say what was altered or where the alteration occurred.

"I think this effect explains a lot of the belief in a sixth sense." He has no idea what physical processes generate mindsight, but says it may be possible to confirm it exists using brain scanners.

Attentional mechanism

Mindsight is not simply a precursor to normal visual perception, he argues, because there seems to be no correlation between how long it takes someone to feel the change, and the time taken to identify what it is. The two sometimes happened almost simultaneously, while at other times the subjects did not report seeing any difference until seconds after they were aware of it.

Vision researcher Dan Simons of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign says Rensink's finding "suggests the existence of an interesting and previously unknown attentional mechanism".

He cautions that people can sometimes believe they have perceived something when they clearly have not, pointing out that Rensink's volunteers sometimes reported seeing a change in the image when in fact it remained consistent. But he says Rensink's study is an important first step in distinguishing accurate sensing from believing.

Rensink acknowledges that not everyone seems to sense something, and that the experimental setting might encourage people to simply guess. But he also thinks that people who do not experience mindsight may be screening out what appear to be gut feelings in favour of what appears to be more rational information, while those who do are happy to trust their instincts.

Mindsight may also be at work when someone goes into a room and senses something is different but cannot put their finger on what. "It could well be an alerting system," he says. There is no reason the effect shouldn't operate with other senses too, he says. Knowing someone is behind you may be the auditory equivalent.

Journal reference: Psychological Science (vol 15, p 27)


Related Articles

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  • http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn2838


  • 25 September 2002

  • "No medical explanation" for near death experiences

  • http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn1693

  • 14 December 2001

  • Subliminal study shows subconscious learning is possible

  • http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn1476

  • 25 October 2001
Weblinks

  • Ronald Rensink, University of British Columbia

  • http://www.psych.ubc.ca/~rensink/

  • Psychological Science

  • http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0956-7976

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