Lifestyle

A new study claims: The sixth sense really exists and is not the same in men and women

Most people know the five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste), but not everyone knows that we have an additional sense called interception. This is a feeling about the inner state of your own body. A new study shows that this feeling is different between women and men.

Interception helps us to feel and interpret the internal signals that regulate vital functions in the body, such as hunger, thirst, body temperature, and heart rate.

Although we do not pay much attention to this feeling, it is extremely important because it ensures that every system in the body works optimally. It warns us when our body may be out of balance – for example, it makes us reach for a drink when we feel thirsty or tells us to take off our sweater when it is too hot.

Interception is also important for mental health. This is because it contributes to many psychological processes such as decision making, social ability and emotional well-being.

Impaired interception has even been described in many mental health problems – including depression, anxiety and eating disorders. It may also explain why many mental health conditions have similar symptoms – such as sleep disorders or fatigue.

Differences in interception in women and men

Despite the importance of interception for all aspects of health, little is known about whether men and women differ in how accurately they feel their body’s internal signals.

Previous studies investigating whether men and women feel and interpret the interceptive signals differently on their heart, lungs, and abdomen have different results. The latest study combines data from 93 studies dealing with interception in men and women.

The focus was on how people perceive heart, lung and stomach signals in a range of different tasks. For example, in some studies, participants counted their pulse, while others asked participants to determine if they noticed light when their stomach cramped or to see if they could tell the difference in breath while breathing in a device that made normal breathing difficult.

The analysis found that interception was actually different between men and women. Women were less precise in heart-focused tasks (and to some extent in the lungs). And it seems that these differences can not be explained by other factors – such as participants’ efforts during the task or physiological differences, such as body weight or blood pressure.

Although significant differences were found between heart rate tasks, the results of the other tasks were less clear. This may be because only a small fraction of the study looked at the perception of the lungs and stomach.

Mental health

This may help us to understand why many common mental health conditions (such as anxiety and depression) are more common in women than in men after puberty. There are several factors that can influence this – genetics, hormones, character and exposure to childhood stress.

But because we know that interception is important, differences in it could explain why more women suffer from anxiety and depression than men. This is because difficulties in interception can affect many areas, including emotional, social and cognitive functions, which are known risk factors for many mental health conditions.

Understanding the differences in how men and women feel interceptive signals can also be important in treating mental illness.

Although new research suggests that improving interception improves mental health, studies also suggest that men can use interceptive signals, such as from the heart, more than women when processing their emotions.

Although it is known that there are differences, we still do not know what causes them. Researchers have several theories, including the various physiological and hormonal changes that most men and women experience.

It also depends on how well men and women are taught to think about their emotions or intercept concepts, such as pain. A better understanding of all the factors that affect interoperative ability can be important for developing better treatments for many mental health conditions, writes Science Alert.

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