As a child, I read a lot of comic books about people with superpowers. I was pretty fond of the idea of invisibility. These days I think it would be great to have the ability to know the native language of anyone I met and be able to communicate fluently with them.

I was never a big fan of the X-men comics but the idea that there are many forms of perception and processing information through the mind instead of the five senses seems a lot less farfetched then it did when I was a kid.

I was also fascinated as a child with Extra Sensory Perception (ESP). To most people, ESP means some kind of psychic ability, but you may have extra human senses and not realize it.

Ever feel like you have a sixth sense?  ESP is still controversial when it comes to clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition (foretelling the future) or retrocognition (seeing events in the distant past), but there are other kinds of perceptions that are “extra sensory.”

You probably have some level of proprioception. It allows you to tell where your body parts are relative to others. Have you ever tried that simple test of closing your eyes and trying to touch your nose with your finger. Police like this test as a way to determine if someone was drinking and driving because this easy task is more difficult if you’re drunk.

Nociception lets you sense pain, and equilibrioceptionis  (balance) is what allows you to do things like walk on a tightrope.

One power that I find interesting is magnetoception which allows you to detect magnetic fields. That brings us around to the X-Men again. Magneto has the ability to generate and control magnetic fields. The ability to see Earth’s magnetic field was once thought to be restricted to sea turtles and birds like swallows and other long-distance animal navigators. Now, some scientists believe it may also reside in human eyes.

My belief about ESP as a kid was that we all have ESP, but only some people know it and work to develop it. Maybe you should ty to develop an extra sense such as the ability to hear the difference between hot and cold water. That’s hear, not feel, the difference. One study seemed to show that we can listen to the difference because there are more molecules in cold water and cold water is more viscous than hot water making it less clear to our ears. Hot water tends to bubble more than cold water and so creates more noise.

Sure, some of these powers are a bit less “super” than flying, super strength or my wish for invisibility, but there may be many other extra senses waiting within us waiting to be developed and used.

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