That feeling of spiciness you get from chilli peppers and the cold feeling you get from menthol is not actually part of your sense of taste, smell, or touch. Instead, it's a distinct type of perception called chemesthesis.

Also, part of the tingly sensation you get from carbonated drinks is due to chemesthesis. You aren't tasting the carbon dioxide in the drink, but it is stimulating your trigeminal nerves.

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@InvaderXan Not sure I follow - what's chemesthesis, and how does it differ from smell and taste?

@RedFuture Smell and taste are olfactory senses, using receptors to identify volatile molecules. It only works where you have those receptors, such as in your mouth, nose, and lungs. Touch is your somatosensory system and detects physical sensations, and works on any post or membranes with sensory nerves.

Chemesthesis is when your nerves are directly excited by chemical compounds. Distinct from touch because it is not a physical sensation. Distinct from taste because you don’t need olfactory receptors for it.

@RedFuture Not quite sure why autocorrect changed "skin" to "post" when I wrote this, but whatever.

@anthra @InvaderXan Skinpostin'. To post is to exist, to draw a boundary between yourself and the outside world, thus (1/837)

also cheers for the explanation

@InvaderXan the numb/tingly feeling Sichuan peppers induce is also chemesthesis i think? I wonder if anyones compiled a list of the foods that have a chemesthesic component

@Satsuma Yeah, I think so. Cloves too. I'd be curious to see a list if there is one somewhere

@InvaderXan I love the 'cloves' feeling. great for dental pain, of course.


@carcinopithecus @InvaderXan I've been wondering about this lately like, is there a canonical order of the senses? my guess is

- sight
- hearing
- smell
- taste
- touch
- balance
- chemo... chem... that one you said

@amsomniac @InvaderXan i just assume it's, like, the 5 that we're memetically stuck with for no good reason, then all the others get numbers 6 onwards

@amsomniac @carcinopithecus Technically, your first sense should probably be proprioception. Even without any of the others, you’ll still be able to touch your left foot with your right hand, because you can perceive where both of them are.

@InvaderXan adding to that fun fact, there is a third distinct non-taste sensation distinguished in cooking: the one you get from a bubbly fizzy drink. (At least I know of these three…)

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