Tuesday, May 12, 2015

One Night in Dublin

The Importance Of Senses
Kemberlee Shortland

When I say senses, what comes to mind first? Sight? Sound? Smell, taste, and touch? You’d be right. But what about the others? Did you know there are actually more than twenty senses? There are, and they’re broken down into two categories: exteroception and interoception.

Exteroceptive senses include the basic five senses: sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch, as defined by Aristotle. As the name implies, it refers to external senses.

But have you ever heard of interoceptive senses? Those refer to internal senses. Here are a few to ponder:

Proprioception – While exteroceptors are responsible for information from outside the body such as the eyes, ears, mouth, and skin, and interoceptors give information about the internal organs, proprioception is awareness of movement derived from muscular, tendon, and articular sources. It is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body. It also indicates whether the body is moving with required effort. Proprioreceptors are sometimes known as adequate stimuli receptors.

A great example of proprioception in action is the field sobriety test. Stand with your arms out to your sides, close your eyes, and with your finger, try touching the tip of your nose. Easy enough when you’re sober; not so easy when you’re inebriated.

An easy way to remember this one is to think of proprioception as to propel or move.

Kinaesthesia – This sense is, in a way, linked to proprioception. Kinaesthesia places a greater sense on motion through muscle, tendon, and articular sensitivity, such as increased heart rate or adrenaline. Consciously, one is unaware that these things are happening, but internal senses (the subconscience) that require additional movement will automatically trigger the receptors into action.

For anyone familiar with kinetics or kinesis, the Greek kinesis means movement and esthesia means awareness, therefore kinaesthesia is a sense of movement. The opposite of kinaesthesia is anesthesia, which is the cessation of movement. Anesthesia in the operating room is a term for a chemical that works by putting our body and mind to sleep for a short time so invasive procedures can be performed. Without it, some of the following senses would take over, which could be harmful to ones health!

Nociception – Also called nociperception, this sense allows us to feel pain and suffering. When we say something hurts, how does it hurt? Nociception sense tells us. But this sense has a threshold. Very little stimulus is required to sense pain, but once the threshold is crossed and we experience excruciating pain, it becomes hyperalgesia—hyper meaning excessive or over and above norms.

Equilibrioception – This sense is controlled by the inner ear and helps us walk straight. When one or both ears are damaged in some way, temporarily or permanently, it will affect how we move and behave. Other things to affect our sense of balance are weightlessness, seasickness, even a cold, all of which can, in turn, make us nauseous, which is one of the side effects of being off balance for too long. Equilibrioception occurs most often when we go on amusement park rides, on a boat, in the car, or anything else that puts us off balance. Some of us behave better when unbalanced for long periods of time and adjust quickly to the movement. But for those who get seasick or have motion sickness, it’s because their inner balance is harder to correct.

And easy way to remember equilibrioception is to remember equilibri is the first part of equilibrium...balance.

Thermoception – As thermo suggestions, this sense allows us to feel temperature differences, and is largely done by the skin. If you put your hand in a bucket of ice, thermoception tells us it’s extremely cold so we can react accordingly by taking out our hand. Walking across hot coals is an extreme test of endurance. In order to do that, we must disrupt our thermoceptors so we don’t feel the pain.

Magnetoception – Magnet/Magneto refers to the ability to detect direction, altitude, and/or location. This sense is most especially seen in migratory animals, especially birds and butterflies. And claims have been made that it’s magnetoception that allows animals to develop regional maps in their heads. For example: deer follow the same path through the forest. Even when the forest is destroyed and a house is built in the middle of the original path, deer will leap shrubs and tear down fences in order to complete the path in their ingrained memories. Magnetoception is also common in humans who have a ‘good sense of direction.’ Consider a magnetic compass. It’s a simple device that uses a small magnet and a needle to detect north. Like a magnetic compass, an internal or natural compass helps us with direction.

Sense of Time – Although the sense of time is not associated with a specific sensory system, the work of scientists indicate that human brains have a system governing the perception of time. An example would be when our internal body clock wakes us at the same time every day.

Intuition – Have you ever just known something? Have you ever felt someone looking at you? Or have you even sensed when someone was in the room but didn’t hear them enter? We call this a gut feeling. Intuition provides us with beliefs we can’t necessarily justify.

And the list goes on. Why have I talked about these senses rather than the basic five as defined by Aristotle? Because we all already know them. Sitting at your computer you experience sight to read this article, touch by using your mouse to scroll the page, hearing if you have music playing in the background, taste and smell if you’re enjoying a snack while you read. But how many of the other senses have you experienced or related to while reading this, or going about your daily routine?

How many programs do you watch with characters who use some of these senses?

- Patrick Jane of ‘The Mentalist’ does his job through intuition.
- Xander Cage from ‘xXx’ has a great sense of equilibrioception—as an adrenaline junkie this is important since he jumps out of planes, leaps off bridges, and drives at incredible speeds. And he probably has a high sense of proprioception, kinaesthesia and magnetoception.
- Tony Stark from ‘Iron Man’ has a great sense of magnetoception. Flying around the world to save people, you’d want to know where you’re going.
- Johnny Storm, aka The Human Torch from ‘Fantastic Four,’ controls his thermoreceptors when he’s on fire.
- Superman, the ultimate hero, uses many of these senses we’ve talked about here today, including thermoreceptors to keep him warm in his ‘Fortress of Solitude’ at the North Pole!

It’s important to mention these other senses, especially within a writing context. Has your hero been shot? He’s probably going to be in a lot of pain if he’s conscious. That’s nociception. And it’s intuition that tells the heroine which way to run for help.

Have you used any of these senses in your writing in the past? If so, how so? And if you haven’t, how will you use them in your writing now that you know more about them?

Kemberlee Shortland
City Nights Series, #9
Tirgearr Publishing
ISBN: 9781311609366
ASIN: B00RY20282


At her mother’s prompting (nagging) about grandchildren, Sive wonders if it really is time to settle down. She’s just finishing college so she should be thinking about her future. But is she ready to settle down? Is she ready for kids? And more importantly, which of the three men she’s been seeing does she want to spend the rest of her life with?

Sive has a choice to make, and only 24 hours in which to make it.


We all make them. From the moment we wake up, it's: “do I get out of bed now or hit the snooze button . . . again?” “shall I wear this outfit to work or that one?” “tea and toast or grab something on the way?”
It's all mundane bullshit. They’re all choices we make on the fly without even realizing we're making them.
Think about it. What choices do you make when you’re not thinking about them? Like going home from work. You get on the train, find a seat and wait for your stop. But when you get there, you wonder how the hell you got there because you don’t remember making the journey.
What I’m trying to say is that we often go on auto-pilot and just do what needs doing without any real thought, because there are usually more pressing things to think about—the important things.  Or seemingly so. Like, what movie to see, what restaurant to eat in, where to go on holidays . . . and for some girls, this pair of sensible shoes on sale or another pair not on sale but immensely sexier?
For me, today, my choices aren't so mundane, and they’ll require a lot of conscious thought. I have an important decision to make. One that could change my life forever, pardon the clichĂ©.
They—whoever 'they' are—say there is someone for everyone, that we all have a 'type' of person we're attracted to. I'm still figuring it all out . . . exploring to see what is my type . . . that someone just for me. And it doesn’t help that my mum’s voice is in the back of my head, asking . . . i.e. nagging (yes, I just said i.e.) . . . when I’m going to settle down and give her grandkids.
First, let me say this: I'm not a slut. I'm not loose, I don't carelessly sleep around, and I don't do one-night stands. I just love men and all of their vast differences.
What can I say about my boys that every other woman out there doesn’t already know about men? Charmers, every one of them. But they all give me something I need.
Tonight I need to decide what, or who, I need the most—Fitzy, Moss, or Sully.


Kemberlee Shortland is a native Northern Californian who grew up in a community founded by artists and writers, including John Steinbeck, George Sterling, and Jack London. It's no wonder she's loved telling stories since she was very young. Kemberlee completed her first novel at 21 and hasn't looked back. In 1997, she left the employ of Clint Eastwood to live in Ireland for six months. It was there she met the man she would marry, and permanently relocated to live in Ireland. While always writing, Kemberlee earned her keep as a travel consultant and writing travel articles about Ireland. In 2005, she saw her first romance sell, and to date, she has nine published romances. When not writing, Kemberlee enjoys spending time with her two Border Collies, who feature on the cover of A Piece of My Heart, and also knitting, gardening, photography, music, travel, and tacos!


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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for hosting me today. I'll be around all day if anyone has questions, or just wants to chat about Dublin...or Ireland.


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