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Scientists Say the Brain Does Have a Sixth Sense –Dave’s Diary

A lot of folks know of my interest in magic and one chapter in the big book of tricks is the field of mentalism.  Mentalism can be described from a magician’s point of view is “using your five senses to create the illusion of a sixth.  ESP, moving things with the power of the mind, sensing things before they happen, mind reading—all that kind of stuff qualifies, but from a magician’s point of view, it’s all just a trick.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Heat Communications

But now, a Dutch study finds that the brain really has a “sixth sense” that goes beyond taste, sight, smell and touch and hearing. Researchers explain the sense allows the brain to map numbers and count, skills commonly referred to as “numerosity.”

To find this, researchers analyzed the brain responses of adult participants who looked at patterns of dots that varied in number over time. Researchers say they found the smaller quantities of dots participants observed were encoded by neurons in one part of the brain, while the larger quantities were encoded in another part of the brain leading researchers to conclude this will lead to a much more complete understanding of humans’ unique numerical and mathematical skills. Whoopee.

I was hoping for more—but then I knew in advance I would be disappointed!

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