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Humanity is often said to have 5 senses, but this isn't entirely accurate. This is one question of several in a series I am asking regarding going beyond the 5 senses.

One of the senses is something I am just going to call "body sense" as a catch-all for these:

Equilibrioception: The sense that allows you to keep your balance and sense body movement in terms of acceleration and directional changes. This sense also allows for perceiving gravity. The sensory system for this is found in your inner ears and is called the vestibular labyrinthine system. Anyone who’s ever had this sense go out on them on occasion knows how important this is. When it’s not working or malfunctioning, you literally can’t tell up from down and moving from one location to another without aid is nearly impossible.

Proprioception: This sense gives you the ability to tell where your body parts are, relative to other body parts. This sense is one of the things police officers test when they pull over someone who they think is driving drunk. The “close your eyes and touch your nose” test is testing this sense. This sense is used all the time in little ways, such as when you scratch an itch on your foot, but never once look at your foot to see where your hand is relative to your foot.

My question is this: How might a race whose body sense is ratched up to extreme levels (say 4 times the normal human level) perceive and interact with the world?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm afraid to answer this flippantly, but martial arts masters, dance masters, and gymnastics masters certainly have this. If I were to point at them and say "just keep going in that direction," would that be a useful answer to you, or are you looking for something else? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Mar 13 '17 at 22:46
  • $\begingroup$ I think tree living monkeys have this perceptions. $\endgroup$ – vodolaz095 Mar 13 '17 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon That's on the high end of human body sense on our spectrum--are they 4 times the normal human level? I would really like to push this to beyond human levels. Especially interested in HOW perception might change because of it. $\endgroup$ – Erin Thursby Mar 13 '17 at 23:44
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    $\begingroup$ Everybody is Kung-fu fighting. $\endgroup$ – ThreeLifes Mar 14 '17 at 12:22
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Assuming some secondary adaptations, they would be able to navigate by dead reckoning. Humans usually navigate by looking at landmarks in the world around us and adjusting as we go. If we could be hyper aware of our bodies and measure out our stride length precisely, and sub-conciously count our steps and track our direction, we could walk around places we already knew with our eyes closed.

Scientifically this is known as "path integration" and it has been shown that ants do it. They combine this with other forms of navigation, because they don't have perfect stride counting.

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Just to add maybe one thing to the already good answers here.

I have to imagine people who are extremely gifted proprioceptively would be good manipulators of body language. How many times have you ever been told that you're sitting or standing awkwardly because you weren't aware of how you were positioned? They could use this ability to be masters of their outward appearance. This probably also means they would be very good at learning fine motor tasks.

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Imagine circumstances that would would favour these senses. A higher G world would require a faster feedback loop. A more sensitive sense would decrease the need for faster reflexes, as you would catch dis-equilibrium sooner.

Inhabitants that lived on a world of cliffs could use such a sense.

For the second, the ability to precisely know where your fingers were could help in doing mechanical work where you can't see what you are working on. Watchmakers working in the dark.

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For world interaction, they will appear incredibly graceful in every movement they make.

Things like being clumbsy, poking themselves in the eye, or biting their tongue while chewing, if not explainable by exhaustion or willful inebriation, will be considered a sign of illness to be checked out by a healer.

Depending on how keen their eyesight is, they may prefer dimmer lighting in their homes because they depend less on sight to get around, and create a more tactile written language like Braille because using touch more is very comfortable and also uses the higher functioning part of their brain more.

They will enjoy high complexity home and building designs that include more split levels, spiral staircases, fire pole exits, and lots of random dips in the flooring and shelves or whatnot sticking out of the walls (for either function or aesthetics) because they just don't care about needing to avoid running into things or accidently stepping into that in-ground floor level aquarium. They are too sure-footed and spatially aware to need flat floors and walls (how boring!). Also, railings on staircases are less prevalent except in special circumstances.

Their Olympics will include events that include some pretty fantastic balancing and body placement skills. Perhaps a gymnastics event called "floats" involving complex body contortions and posing while jumping and balancing between several loosely floating spinnable logs that are tethered to a rotating center pole".

They play with Rubics Dodecahedrons (that highly developed spatial brain center use again).

There's not much worry about safety-proofing playground equipment, so those designs are going to be pretty awesome. There's going to be lots of trampolines and very high monkey bars with plenty of moving parts.

Deep sea diving and underwater sports will be more popular. With air breathers on, they move around underwater without getting disoriented.

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What can I say, other than such a race will possess the maddest parkour skills. If such extremely developed senses are accompanied by an extremely agile musculature, micro or high g's will have little effect on their physical performance.

Not only will underwater sports become popular to them, but even aerial and orbital playground will have such strong appeal to their species they'll probably be better living offworld within bizarre artificial habitats, a la parkour heavens.

Aside from being space ninjas, they'll also be highly sensitive to any stimulus across the senses in their body-map. Therefore, their surgery and tracking techniques will also be as awesome.

If they're not gifted with innate full-organ or full-limb regeneration, an individual can perform transplants by itself. As a species, they'll quickly advance towards transhuman-equivalents since body modifications are the next generation of self-operated transplants.

One downside I can say though, is that they'll have trouble meditating, or sleeping at that matter. Since they are sensitive to the minutest enviromental changes and its effects within their bodies, they'll probably require dampener drugs or hormones that will minimize their sensitivities whenever they need to relax.

They'll be ninjas or surgeons or ninja-surgeons at best. At worst, they'll be paranoid addicts or sedentary monks.

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