How psychic senses relate to the traditional senses

by Tiffany Harelik

The five senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch—are the means through which we perceive the world around us. Each sense involves a complex interplay of anatomical structures, sensory receptors, and neural pathways. Each sense also extends beyond the physical world through the channels of perception, relying on specialized receptors and complex neural pathways to interpret the external environment, providing us with a rich and detailed perception of the world.

1. Sight: Clairvoyance (Clear Seeing)

  • Eyes: The primary organs of vision.
  • Retina: A layer at the back of the eye that contains photoreceptor cells (rods and cones).
  • Optic Nerve: Transmits visual information from the retina to the brain.
  1. Light Entry: Light enters the eye through the cornea and passes through the pupil, which regulates the amount of light that enters.
  2. Lens Focus: The lens focuses the light onto the retina, creating an image.
  3. Photoreception: Photoreceptor cells in the retina (rods for low light and peripheral vision, cones for color and detailed vision) convert light into electrical signals.
  4. Signal Transmission: These signals are transmitted via the optic nerve to the visual cortex in the brain.
  5. Image Processing: The brain processes the signals to form images, allowing us to perceive shapes, colors, and movements.
Psychic Sight: 
  • Spiritual seeing involves receiving visual information in the mind’s eye, often in the form of mental images, symbols, or scenes.
  • Like physical vision, spiritual seeing provides insight into events, people, or places beyond immediate physical perception.


2. Hearing: Clairaudience (Clear Hearing)

Anatomy and Structures Involved:
  • Outer Ear: Includes the ear canal and pinna, which collect sound waves.
  • Middle Ear: Contains the eardrum and ossicles (tiny bones: malleus, incus, stapes).
  • Inner Ear: Includes the cochlea and the auditory nerve.


  1. Sound Wave Collection: Sound waves enter the ear canal and cause the eardrum to vibrate.
  2. Vibration Transmission: The vibrations are transmitted through the ossicles to the cochlea.
  3. Hair Cell Activation: The cochlea converts these vibrations into electrical signals via hair cells.
  4. Signal Transmission: These signals are sent via the auditory nerve to the auditory cortex in the brain.
  5. Sound Processing: The brain interprets these signals as sounds, allowing us to recognize pitch, volume, and direction.
Psychic Hearing:
  • Spiritual hearing involves receiving auditory information internally, such as hearing voices, sounds, or messages, without external stimuli.
  • Similar to physical hearing, spiritual hearing provides intuitive insights through auditory perception.


3. Smell: Clairalience (Clear Smelling)

Anatomy and Structures Involved:
  • Nasal Cavity: Contains olfactory receptors.
  • Olfactory Bulb: Located at the base of the brain.
  1. Odor Molecule Detection: Odor molecules enter the nasal cavity and dissolve in the mucus lining.
  2. Receptor Activation: They bind to olfactory receptors on the cilia of olfactory sensory neurons.
  3. Signal Transmission: The receptors send electrical signals to the olfactory bulb.
  4. Processing and Identification: The olfactory bulb processes these signals and sends them to the olfactory cortex and other brain regions involved in memory and emotion.
  5. Smell Perception: The brain interprets these signals as specific smells.
Psychic Smelling:
  • Clairalience involves perceiving smells or scents without a physical source, often associated with spiritual or psychic phenomena.
  • Similar to physical smell, spiritual smelling provides intuitive insights through olfactory perception.


4. Taste: Clairgustance (Clear Tasting)

Anatomy and Structures Involved:
  • Taste Buds: Located on the tongue, soft palate, and throat.
  • Gustatory Cortex: Located in the brain.


  1. Chemical Detection: Food molecules dissolve in saliva and bind to taste receptors in taste buds.
  2. Receptor Activation: Taste receptors send electrical signals via taste sensory cells.
  3. Signal Transmission: These signals travel through cranial nerves to the brainstem and then to the gustatory cortex.
  4. Taste Processing: The brain processes these signals, allowing us to perceive different tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami).
  5. Flavor Perception: The combination of taste, smell, and other sensory inputs contribute to the overall perception of flavor.
Psychic Tasting:
  • Clairgustance involves tasting flavors or substances without physical ingestion, often associated with spiritual or psychic experiences.
  • Like physical taste, clear tasting provides intuitive insights through gustatory perception.


5. Touch: Claircognizance (Clear Knowing)


Anatomy and Structures Involved:
  • Skin: Contains various receptors (mechanoreceptors, thermoreceptors, nociceptors).
  • Somatosensory Cortex: Located in the brain.
  1. Stimulus Detection: Receptors in the skin detect mechanical pressure, temperature changes, and pain.
    • Mechanoreceptors: Respond to pressure, vibration, and texture.
    • Thermoreceptors: Respond to temperature changes.
    • Nociceptors: Respond to pain (potentially harmful stimuli).
  2. Receptor Activation: These receptors convert stimuli into electrical signals.
  3. Signal Transmission: The signals are transmitted via peripheral nerves to the spinal cord and then to the brain.
  4. Processing and Interpretation: The somatosensory cortex processes these signals to determine the type, intensity, and location of the stimulus.
  5. Touch Perception: The brain integrates this information, allowing us to perceive sensations such as pressure, warmth, cold, and pain.
Psychic Feeling and Knowing:
  • Claircognizance involves receiving knowledge or insights without logical reasoning or external information.
  • While not directly related to any specific physical sense, your ability to “just know” something is a deep inner knowing or understanding.