Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Women's 6th sense

  1. Aug 4, 2007 #1


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    "Women's" 6th sense

    Does modern psychology concern itself with explaining the 6th sense, commonly believed to be a female trait? For example, women having a sense of being observed, or even thought about, esp. when the act involves lustful feelings?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 4, 2007 #2

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    No, that would be parapsychology.
  4. Aug 7, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Or just statistics.
    If there is a man around he is observing you, or thinking about observing you and lustful thoughts is probably a safe bet.
  5. Aug 9, 2007 #4
    I don't think this sort of thing is a sixth sense, I think that's more like common sense based on experience :tongue: That's actually one of the reasons why virgin girls are so vulnerable to older men, they do not have an "intrinsic" defense (other than the common fear of the unknown that both male and female virgins have) to tell about the nature of the boy they are with until after they understand themselves a bit better.

    Men are pretty predictable when it comes to this sort of thing, but women cannot always assume that a man taking an interest in them is immediately lustful and expect to be accurate. For example, I have poor health and most of the time these days my body is neutral even to very attractive young ladies. If you go back to my early 20's it surely wasn't this way, but it certainly is now.
  6. Aug 10, 2007 #5
    Womens sixth sense is easily explained by two factors. One is that women tend to have better bilaterial use of their brains. In other words, they pay more attention to the right side of their brain which is associated with more intuitive perception. Second, women are brought up to be more in touch with their feelings which also allows them to be more intuitive.
  7. Aug 10, 2007 #6
    I think this is on the right track: women's corpus callosum is on the average 20% larger than mens. The kinds of things they are alert to, and can make sense of, is often different from men, though one study I saw a special about on TV maintained that men can duplicate this, but with greater effort than is required for women.

    However, I have to object to the term "sixth sense" to refer to this ability, since we all have at least seven identified senses, two of which never make it into the commonly used list: balance, or the sense of acceleration located in the inner ears, and proprioception: the sense of internal touch. This allows you to know what position your body is in even when your eyes are closed or you're not observing your position. The nerve receptors for this are different than other touch receptors and the information is processed in a different place in the parietal lobes.
  8. Aug 14, 2007 #7
    Yes, but saying that woman have an "8th sense" simply doesn't sound as cool.
  9. Aug 14, 2007 #8


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    If this would be true, I'd *constantly* have a girlfriend. :rolleyes:
  10. Aug 21, 2007 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I already knew it takes two! :biggrin:

    Joking aside, thanks for the information.
  11. Aug 21, 2007 #10


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I Googled "corpus callosum" and came across the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corpus_callosum#Sexual_dimorphism
  12. Aug 27, 2007 #11
    From the Wiki:

    That's amazing.
  13. Oct 5, 2007 #12
    I used to work with a group of neurologists and physiologists and they had a running battle about the number of senses. It varied somewhere in 15-20 range depending on which one had some good data or had just read a new paper. For example, they always divided the inner ear accelerometers into angular accelerometers (the semicircular canals) and linear accelerometers (the otoliths).
  14. Oct 5, 2007 #13
    It's true: what we lump together under "touch", for example (senses whose receptors are prominent in the skin, I guess you'd say) , actually consists of heat perception, cold perception, pressure perception, pain perception and, I believe, some others.

    I'm not completely surprised that proprioception goes unrecognized since it's not apparent we have such a sense or need it: it rarely goes awry and therefore goes unnoticed. What we lump together under "balance" though, has always been a fairly apparent phenomenon and I was surprised when I realized it's never been included in the list of major senses.
  15. Oct 5, 2007 #14


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thank you. I've always held that balance is a distinct sense.

    Though I've never heard of this seventh one you speak of. I'm not sure it counts.

    In my understanding, senses are defined as how we get information about the outside world. If internal senses count, then we could start looking at all sorts mundane things like hunger pangs, etc. (though that's simply touch, I make my point)
  16. Oct 6, 2007 #15

    D H

    Staff: Mentor

    Sump lump detecting translational acceleration and angular velocity together as one sense while others consider these two distinct senses. The underlying mechanisms are quite distinct (translational acceleration versus angular velocity) as are the sensors that detect these phenomena (otoliths versus semicircular canals).

    Perhaps you are lacking this particular kind of sense. It is well known than people lacking in this "seventh sense" are more prone to make double posts.:biggrin:

    Touch is actually many different senses: pressure, temperature, and pain. Since pressure and temperature are completely different physical phenomena, it should not be surprising that distinct kinds of receptors are needed to detect them. Pain is distinct from pressure andtemperature. The sensation of pain results when damage sensors are triggered.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007
  17. Oct 6, 2007 #16
    As DH points out it is more accurately two distinct sensory systems working in close conjunction. I should mention that vision is intimately tied in to balance and works synergistically with the inner ear.

    As far as your brain is concerned your body is the outside world, Dave. It needs as much imput about the body as it does anything else and all that information comes to it via the same sort of sensory channels it uses to apprehend the "outside world".

    Internal pain is as valid a sense as skin pain. There's absolutely no reason to dismiss hunger pangs from a comprehensive list of the senses.

    Proprioception goes unnoticed because, as I mentioned before, it almost never goes awry. When it does, however, the effect is devestating. You need to read The Disembodied Lady in the book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks. It relates the true story of a woman whose proprioceptors were destroyed by a freak infection and how it nearly incapacitated her. Proprioception is absolutely as important a sense as vision or hearing, as you'll find out if you read it. It counts. Since it is generally so reliable most people go through their lives not realizing they have, or need, such a sense. My brother in law has multiple sclerosis which knocked out the proprioception in his feet. Unless he is looking at his feet, he now has no idea where they are, what position they're in. He has to walk looking down at them, positioning them by trial and error corrected by visual imput. He still has feeling in his feet, mind you. But he has lost his internal knowledge of their position.

    If you close your eyes and hold one of your arms straight out to the side you will know exactly where it is, what position it's in. If you lost proprioception in your arm, though, you would never know where it was without looking at it. You still be able to feel pain, pressure, heat, and so forth on your arm, you would, however, have no idea where it was in relation to your body.
  18. Oct 6, 2007 #17
    In the old world of medicine, that was generally true. In the last few decades, there has been a marriage of medicine/physiology and engineering and it is fair to ask the question: if we were to build a machine to duplicate the human body, what types of sensors would we need? So, hunger is a legitimate sensor requirement, even though it might be mundane. Sort of like the "door is open" sensor on your car. Very mundane, but you can't adequately model the control system without it.
  19. Oct 6, 2007 #18


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

  20. Oct 6, 2007 #19


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Mundane wasn't the trait I was trying to emphasize. Internal vs. external was.

    From wiki:
    "In general, one can say that a "sense" is a faculty by which outside stimuli are perceived. " (emphasis mine)
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007
  21. Oct 6, 2007 #20
    I think that is a fair distinction to make between the traditional view and the more generally accepted scientific view. For example, if I am spun around (external) on a carnival ride, my vestibular system will sense that. If, on the other hand, I drink too much and mess up the specific gravity of the perilymph (internal), my poor brain gets the same signal. For me to ask my brain to distinguish between an external stimulus and an internal stimulus begs Occam's Razor. I believe the open questions are whether such senses as magnetic field exist and how many fine dinstinctions to make in, for example, vision (color, light intensity, edge detection)
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Women's 6th sense
  1. Women OH YES Women! (Replies: 54)

  2. 6th Aruban PF conference (Replies: 27)

  3. Women & voting (Replies: 20)