Sensation is dealing with the processing of the senses, including the traditional senses vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch, but also sense experiences such as vestibular and pain. It typically involves the higher-level cortical brain areas associated with the conscious experience of physical ...

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Can you feel what's happening in your brain? [on hold]

There are specific instances in which I feel areas of my brain. I assumed I was making it up because "the brain doesn't have any pain receptors" but recently thought of headaches, and looked online to ...
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29 views

Do ants use something similar to the honey bee “waggle dance” to instruct the rest of the colony where to find a food source?

In the 20 years since we built our home, we've just recently had our first ant infestation. I'm familiar with the fact that ants leave scent trails to find their way back and forth between the ...
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1answer
97 views

Perception of white in the absence of rods

If the retina would not have any cones, one would be color blind. If white is the presence of all colors (in the matter of color mixture, not addition), then what would white look like without rods?
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20 views

Any nerves/fibers in foot similar to ulnar nerve in elbow?

I just noticed that when I gently run my fingers along the top of my right foot, I get the same exact "funnybone" sensation in my toes that I get when I hit the ulnar nerve in my elbow. So I ask: are ...
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15 views

Which ligands bind to (are sensed by) these Odorant Binding Proteins (OBPs)?

Question I have a list of 69 odorant binding protein (OBP) IDs, belonging to the malarial mosquito Anopheles gambiae, and I would like to know which ligands/molecules they bind to. I would greatly ...
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1answer
60 views

Why doesn't the ambient lighting condition change the perception of colors we see on a monitor?

Suppose that I take a picture of an object illuminated by an incandescent light bulb and I choose the daylight white balance setting. The picture I then get will display a white object as looking ...
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2answers
142 views

How can some animals see ultraviolet or infrared light?

I know that some animals like birds, bees, and fish can see ultraviolet and infrared light. Whether it to detect flowers that bare nectar, or the urine trails of prey. But what I don't understand is ...
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164 views

Why black and yellow indicates danger?

It is a pretty well-known fact that combination of black and yellow indicates danger or poisonousness. In western society it seems obvious this comes from bees and wasps, but the look to the ...
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66 views

Is there a lower temperature limit, below which we cannot sense a difference in temperature?

At work I have to handle samples stored at -20 and -70 degrees Celsius, and they don't feel that different to me.
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250 views

How statistically significant was the “sweaty T-shirt” experiment?

An Overview of the Experiment. In 1995 there was an experiment that involves young people smelling T-shirts worn by another gender and rating their preference. The researchers found that people ...
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1answer
106 views

Does loud music affect hearing and balance?

From many sources I understand that strong disturbances can destroy hair cells in the cochlea. Does the sound damage always counts simply as the number of decibels recieved by the ear? E.g., if you ...
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1answer
76 views

How is pain induced by blunt and sharp objects?

Normally, when something touch you, you won't feel pain. With a great force "touching" you, you will feel pain. However, if something that is spiky makes contact with you, you will feel pain. So, how ...
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528 views

Why can humans feel electricity?

What evolutionary process has provided humans with the ability of feeling electric current? Besides lightning and electric eel, what natural hazards include electricity that poses a threat to humans? ...
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176 views

Pitch shift in hearing after wisdom teeth removal

Yesterday I had my wisdom teeth removed. This morning, when I heard our phone ringing, it sounded a little lower-pitched than usual (I have perfect pitch). Sure enough, when I opened FL Studio ...
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1answer
78 views

What is the biological limit on hearing resolution?

I sometimes wonder how many different individual musical scales could be perceived by human ears. I define a musical scale as a collection of notes that relate to some fundamental frequency by ...
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2answers
74 views

Why are our bodies created to itch when histamine is released by our immune systems?

Why do bug bites and cuts itch when scratching them clearly doesn't help us survive? Did our early ancestors need to rely on this itching sensation, or is it just that the receptors for itches just ...
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54 views

Do genetic modifications exist to enhance the taste of tomatoes?

GM tomatoes seem less tasty. Has there been any research on GMOs with regard to taste? Can scientists introduce a gene to, let's say, tomatoes, which would enhance the flavour? If not, why?
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297 views

How can bats hear such high frequencies?

I attended a talk that glossed over some biology as it was talking about a certain protein. The speaker mentioned humans can hear up to, often less than 20kHz frequencies, whereas bats can hear up to ...
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1answer
115 views

What is the biochemical explanation for tingling and burning sensation in brain due to certain food?

Consumption of mustard (spicy English Mustard), wasabi and horseradish based food dressings usually result in a burning, tingling or freezing sensation in the brain/scalp and nostrils as the vapour ...
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1answer
112 views

What are dreams, biologically?

Falling asleep or states of subconsciousness does not stop the mind from making its own fictional images. These seem like sensations just like those received from human eyes. But, how do we define ...
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89 views

How are smell and taste in fish differentiated?

The senses of taste and smell in different fish classes are described as two distinct senses; smell is mediated by the nasal openings, and taste by epithelial taste buds. They are both forms of ...
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42 views

Can nociceptors die because of too much mechanical stress?

In martial art people hit their body (e.g., with small bean bags) to become more insensitive to pain. Can the sensory neurons die during this procedure? I think this is just an urban legend. Instead, ...
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2answers
108 views

Does suffocation pain involve nociceptors?

I never suffocated myself so not entirely sure, but when you suffocate, it's painful, right? But of course different kind of pain than being injured or sick. What I'm wondering is, if the "painful" ...
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262 views

What's the frequency resolution of the human ear?

I was thinking about audio compression (namely mp3), that "filters" out sound that we would not likely hear. The MP3 lossy audio data compression algorithm takes advantage of a perceptual ...
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299 views

How precisely can we sense temperature differences?

We have thermoreceptors, thus we can sense temperature (both warm and cold). I'm interested in the sensitivity of our thermoreceptors - What is the smallest temperature difference that we can sense? ...
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1answer
46 views

Hand-eye coordination in 3D space

A simple daily event has amazed me and triggered this question. I have read and heard about hand-eye coordination. It quite straightforward when you e.g. want to open a door or play Xbox. In this case ...
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279 views

Do butterflies see behind?

Butterflies, like many other insects, understand that I am getting near from behind. How do they feel this - through vision, hearing, or some other sense?
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Why after physical activity I see flickering concentric circles? [duplicate]

After prolonged hard physical exercise such as running uphill I sometimes experience rapidly vibrating black-and-white concentric circles for a few minutes, looking like a sinusoidal zone plate, small ...
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Why do we experience temperatures below 37 degrees Celsius as 'hot'? [duplicate]

We always prefer to be in 20-25° C, although our core temperature is about 37°? Why is our skin temperature lower than our core temperature?
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54 views

Why not use non-visual self-recognition to test for consciousness in an organism?

Background A well-known test for consciousness in an organism is to observe its ability to recognise itself in a mirror (see wikipedia article: "Mirror test"). Question Why haven't I come across a ...
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1answer
831 views

What percent of the population has some form of synesthesia?

Data I am trying to get my hands on: What types of synesthesia (e.g. Grapheme-color synesthesia, Chromesthesia, etc.) are most common across the population? What percent of population has that ...
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3answers
267 views

Why do human ears have a lower boundary for the lowest energy perceivable signal than eyes?

I am currently hearing a lecture about human machine interaction. The lecturer is not a biologist (neither am I, we are both computer scientists), but he makes some statements about biology which I ...
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478 views

Evolutionary reasons why you cannot tickle yourself but masturbate

There are obviously good reasons that explain why you cannot tickle yourself (see e.g. here). This got me thinking why it is possible to masturbate... Wouldn't it make more sense to not being able to ...
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1answer
129 views

Do blind people learn Braille equally fast as the sighted?

The visually deprived brain undergoes extensive remodeling due to cross-modal plasticity. This leads to increased areas of the cortex being available for other purposes such as tactile processing. Now ...
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311 views

Why can you not tickle yourself?

It's the age old question, why can't we tickle ourselves? If you rub your fingers along your skin, sure there's sensation but you don't break down into a laughing fit (at least I don't :P), if someone ...
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736 views

Can ants sense food from a long distance?

I recently had ants find and then swarm to a food container that I put down on a desk, and I'm curious as to whether an ant would have needed to get lucky, discovering the food after crawling up the ...
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1answer
70 views

What can myelination tell you about the evolution of sensory receptors?

I am reading Avi Chaudhuri's Fundamentals of Sensory Perception and wondering if the information given about the somatosensory system could tell us anything about the way it evolved. It seems (at ...
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249 views

How can flies sense mirrors?

I've noted that flies in my house have no problem landing on even perfectly clean mirrors. Why don't they fly straight into them? Can they sense that there is a surface there, even though they can't ...
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256 views

Do ants feel acceleration?

The organ we have to provide us with current acceleration information is quite complicated. Because an ant queen didn't seem to notice when I picked up the bottle she was in, I have a suspicion that ...
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1answer
117 views

Can insects feel pain?

Insects do have a nervous system, even if it isn't nearly as complex as that of other animals. Can insects or other arthropods sense pain? Does their aversion to harmful stimuli suggest that they can ...
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1answer
39 views

Is the sense for salt depending on the electrolyte level in our body?

I often noticed, after (heavy) physical activity like cycling, running, swimming or working an isotonic drink (to recover the electrolyte level) tastes less "salty" compared to when drinking it before ...
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3k views

Why does ear wax taste sour?

Why does ear wax taste sour? I am interested in both the physiochemical mechanisms and the evolutionary reasons behind the sour taste of earwax.
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236 views

Are there specific features of birds that cats/small predators are attracted to?

I've recently heard a podcast, in which a professor describes one of the theories as to why we like abstract art. In his talk, he mentions an experiment with seagull chicks, in which the seagull ...
8
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1answer
151 views

Dogs bark at familiar person in Santa costume. Why? Don't dogs trust smell over vision?

Last night 10 humans and 2 dogs spent Christmas together. At some point, one human dissappears for a few minutes and comes back wearing a full Santa outfit. Upon respawning, the dogs start barking ...
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80 views

Organisms with the most extreme sensory capabilities? (sight, smell, sound) [closed]

Background It is quite mind boggling to imagine what it would be like to be missing sight, sound, touch, smell, taste etc. Question Which organism holds the record for most extreme sensory ...
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155 views

Chills down the spine with certain music?

I am sure many of us know the feeling of that tingling chill down our spines when listening to certain music. I experienced this most when my younger brother played an emotional piano piece for a ...
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1answer
189 views

Are similar smells usually based on similar chemicals?

Building off of this question: Why does freshly cut grass smell like a watermelon?, is it usually the case that things that we perceive as having similar smells are, in fact, the same or a similar ...
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3answers
3k views

How come that we “feel” it when someone's watching us [closed]

The question is relatively easy (the answer however..). We all know this feeling "being watched" and more often than not this is a real thing. If someone is staring at us from the side or from the ...
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3answers
4k views

Why do we squint when tasting very sour things?

Sometimes while tasting a very sour thing (like tamarind, lemon etc.) our eyes squint immediately and involuntarily for a second, but a little later becomes normal again. Why, and how, does this ...
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Why can cats interpret things on a monitor/tv, but dogs cannot?

E.g. you can see a lot of videos where cats are smashing some mouse or spider on an ipad, but I have never seen it with a dog. I have a dog myself and I know that he sometimes responds to the sounds ...