Beyond The Basic Five

Volume 30 Issue 9 | September 2016

Featured Articles

image: Proprioception: The Sense Within

Proprioception: The Sense Within

By Uwe Proske and Simon Gandevia | September 1, 2016

Knowing where our bodies are in space is critical for the control of our movements and for our sense of self.

image: Sensory Biology Around the Animal Kingdom

Sensory Biology Around the Animal Kingdom

By The Scientist Staff | September 1, 2016

From detecting gravity and the Earth’s magnetic field to feeling heat and the movement of water around them, animals can do more than just see, smell, touch, taste, and hear.

image: What Sensory Receptors Do Outside of Sense Organs

What Sensory Receptors Do Outside of Sense Organs

By Sandeep Ravindran | September 1, 2016

Odor, taste, and light receptors are present in many different parts of the body, and they have surprisingly diverse functions.




Meet some of the people featured in the September 2016 issue of The Scientist


A Cornucopia of Sensory Perception

Forget what you learned about humans having five senses. That goes double for non-human animals.

Speaking of Science

Notable Science Quotes

Sensory discoveries, open-access publishing, and candidates on climate changes


Multiple Sclerosis: Is Yawning a Warning?

Neuropsychologist Simon Thompson found a possible link between yawning and multiple sclerosis. So what better way to get under the skin of his research than volunteering to take part in one of his experiments?

Smart Skin Enables Magnetoreception

Researchers develop a wearable technology that can detect magnetic fields and translate the signal into a visual display—a first step toward equipping humans with an entirely new sense.

A Tribe of Hornbill Hunters Turns to Conservation

An indigenous community in northeastern India is a crucial part of the effort to save these majestic forest birds from extinction.

The Flower Sense of Hawkmoths

The pollinators of a wild tobacco plant use the tip of their proboscis to determine whether they should stop for a drink.

Critic at Large

Opinion: Fixing Science’s Human Bias

It’s time to accelerate the conversation about why the research community is still not diverse.

Thought Experiment

Opinion: Acquiring Extra Senses

Animals’ diverse sensory abilities will guide a technology-based revolution that gives humans perception beyond our natural senses.

Modus Operandi

Promoting Protein Partnerships

Scientists generate new protein-protein interactions at an impressive PACE.

The Literature

Orchid Bees Use Simple Eyes to Detect Polarized Light

The second visual field may aid in navigation.

Fruit Flies Feel Humidity with Dedicated Receptors

Drosophila antennae let the insects seek out moisture levels they like best.

pH Detectors in Lamprey Spinal Cords Control Cell and Locomotor Activity

Neurons in the lamprey spinal cord can sense pH and counteract changes from the body’s optimal range.


Profile: Dean Buonomano Studies How the Brain Encodes Time

The UCLA neurobiologist uses computational modeling, in vitro electrophysiology, and human psychophysics experiments to explore how neurons and the brain as a whole perceive and respond to time.

Scientist to Watch

Katie Kindt's Quest to Understand Hair Cells

Acting Chief, Section on Sensory Cell Development and Function, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Age: 38

Lab Tools

Designing In Vitro Models of the Blood-Brain Barrier

Choosing the right model, be it 3-D or 2-D, requires wading through varied cell sources, cell types, and cell culture conditions.

Using CRISPR to Edit Genes in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Tips on how to surmount the challenges of working with CRISPR to manipulate genes in human stems cells to study their function in specific diseases or to correct genetic defects in patient cells.


The Challenges of Rare-Disease Research

With few resources and hesitant investors, basic scientists must rely on clinicians, patient advocates, and their own keen eye for biological connections.

Reading Frames

How Art Can Inform Brain Science, and Vice Versa

Reductionism may be the key to bridging the gap between the humanities and the sciences.


ESP on Trial

In the 1930s, parapsychologist Joseph Banks Rhine aimed to use scientific methods to confirm the existence of extrasensory perception, but faced criticisms of dubious analyses and irreproducible results.

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