Chapter 19

Sensory Systems

What is a Sensory System?
Sensory systems detect stimuli—such as light and sound waves—and transduce them into neural signals that can be interpreted by the…
The Tongue and Taste Buds
19.2: The Tongue and Taste Buds
The surface of the tongue is covered with various small bumps called papillae, which either distribute what has been ingested (filiform papillae) or…
Gustation
19.3: Gustation
Gustation is a chemical sense that, along with olfaction (smell), contributes to our perception of taste. It starts with the activation of receptors…
Olfaction
19.4: Olfaction
The sense of smell is achieved through the activities of the olfactory system. It starts when an airborne odorant enters the nasal cavity and reaches…
Hearing
19.5: Hearing
When we hear a sound, our nervous system is detecting sound waves—pressure waves of mechanical energy traveling through a medium. The frequency…
Hair Cells
19.6: Hair Cells
Hair cells are the sensory receptors of the auditory system—they transduce mechanical sound waves into electrical energy that the nervous…
The Cochlea
19.7: The Cochlea
The cochlea is a coiled structure in the inner ear that contains hair cells—the sensory receptors of the auditory system. Sound waves are…
The Vestibular System
19.8: The Vestibular System
The vestibular system is a set of inner ear structures that provide a sense of balance and spatial orientation. This system is comprised of…
The Retina
19.9: The Retina
The retina is a layer of nervous tissue at the back of the eye that transduces light into neural signals. This process, called phototransduction, is…
Vision
19.10: Vision
Vision is the result of light being detected and transduced into neural signals by the retina of the eye. This information is then further analyzed…
Somatosensation
19.11: Somatosensation
The somatosensory system relays sensory information from the skin, mucous membranes, limbs, and joints. Somatosensation is more familiarly known as…
Thermosensation
19.12: Thermosensation
Peripheral thermosensation is the perception of external temperature. A change in temperature (on the surface of the skin and other tissues) is…
Neuroscience: Gustatory Coding
19.15: Neuroscience: Gustatory Coding
Researchers can use simple animal models, like the moth Manduca sexta, to study basic principles in the neural coding of taste. This…
Behavior: Visual Adaptation
19.16: Behavior: Visual Adaptation
Sensory systems continuously adjust to the context that they are exposed—a concept referred to as adaptation. This article describes a novel…
Medicine: Cochlear Explant Technique
19.17: Medicine: Cochlear Explant Technique
The most common sensory deficit in humans is hearing loss. Complete cochlear models are necessary to improve treatment options, particularly for more…
Biology: Desensitization and Recovery of Crayfish Photoreceptors Upon Delivery of a Light Stimulus
19.18: Biology: Desensitization and Recovery of Crayfish Photoreceptors Upon Delivery of a Light Stimulus
Crayfish are useful model organisms for the study of vision. This video demonstrates a protocol for measuring light-induced voltage changes in…
Neuroscience: Local and Global Methods of Assessing Thermal Nociception in Drosophila Larvae
19.19: Neuroscience: Local and Global Methods of Assessing Thermal Nociception in Drosophila Larvae
Nociception is the sensory response to potentially harmful stimuli. This video demonstrates assays to study thermal nociception, or responses to…