Researchers Debates Over Sixth Sense Being Just A Subconscious Observation

Sixth sense remains as much as a mystery as our universe and our evolution. For some of us its a perception of the brain, while some refers it as something supernatural. But the closest explanation to the theory attached to sixth sense is that, it is one’s ability to subconsciously perceive changes in the surrounding environment. Researchers are constantly digging into this realm of science or belief to gather more exact proof.


This deduction was summed up by the researchers of Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, Australia. After they performed a study in which nearly 50 participants were shown a pair of pictures of the same woman.

The snapshots were shown for 1.5 seconds to each one of the participants, with a break of one second in between two images. After showing the last photograph the person was asked to whether or not they experience any alteration. If yes, then what was it?

In some cases there was no change, while in other instances participants notice changes in woman’s hairstyles or switches in her accessories or color of the garments.

The researchers wrote in the study, “Changes could only be detected by comparing the two photographs.”

The researchers explains, the findings showed that participants could usually detect a variation  but they could not pinpoint what had actually changed. The outcome was participants reportedly “feeling” or “sensing” a change without being able to point directly at one particular change.

The study was published in the journal PLOS One ((Jan. 13).

Piers Howe, lead researcher of the whole program said, “There is a common belief that observers can experience changes directly with their mind, without needing to rely on the traditional physical senses such as vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch to identify it. This alleged ability is sometimes referred to as a sixth sense or ESP.”.

He also added “We were able to show that while observers could reliably sense changes that they could not visually identify, this ability was not due to extrasensory perception or a sixth sense.”

The discoveries propose the foundation of the phenomenon in which a person seems to be instinctively conscious of something that they don’t believe they have seen or sensed in another way is due to the insight of variances in these visual metrics, not a sense that operates outside the normal laws of physics.

As per The Guardian, Howe got this radical idea of executing this whole survey when one of his pupils told him she had a sixth sense.

“She said she had the ability to tell if something bad had happened to someone just by looking at them,” he quoted in The Guardian.

Nevertheless, Howe debates that as human beings, “We receive a lot of information we don’t or can’t express.”

As an instance, the researcher points to the moment when his children abruptly become quiet in the next room over.

“I’m alerted to that subconsciously and go into the room and find that they are being quiet because they are doing something naughty. That’s not a sixth sense.” he clarifies.

The study is unlikely to convince believers in the supernatural, Howe said.