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, so they can be interpreted by the…
The Tongue and Taste Buds
19.2: The Tongue and Taste Buds
The surface of the tongue is covered in various small bumps called papillae, which either serve to distribute what has been ingested (i.e., filiform)…
Gustation
19.3: Gustation
Gustation is a chemical sense that largely participates in our perception of taste. It starts with the activation of receptors by chemical compounds…
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 air molecules. The frequency of the wave is perceived as…
Hair Cells
19.6: Hair Cells
Hair cells are the sensory receptors of the auditory system—they transduce mechanical sound waves into electrochemical signals 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 continuously monitors the position and movement of the head so that posture and eye position can be adjusted accordingly to…
The Retina
19.9: The Retina
The retina is the neural 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, and then the information is further…
Somatosensation
19.11: Somatosensation
The somatosensory system relays information about mechanical disturbances occurring in the body, such as in the skin. This system depends on…
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…
Finding Your Blindspots
19.13: Finding Your Blindspots
In the back of everyone's eye is a small piece of neural tissue called the retina. The retina has photosensitive cells that respond to…
Rubber Hand Illusion
19.14: Rubber Hand Illusion
Our physical actions—whether we are reaching for objects or walking without hitting obstacles—depend on an ability to perceive our own…
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…