The human body is continuously bombarded by all kinds of stimuli. Certain of these stimuli are received by sense organs distributed throughout the entire body.
These are referred to as the general senses. Certain other stimuli are received by pairs of receptor organs located in the head.
These are the special senses. Since the general senses respond to immediate contact, they are very short range.
In contrast, the special senses are long range. From the special sense organs, information is sent to the brain through specific cranial nerves.
When this information reaches specific areas of the cerebral cortex, the sensations are perceived at the conscious level.