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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Could we transmit smells electronically?

We can encode sound and images in radio waves and send them, but presumably there's some physiological reason that we can't easily make a picture or video of a smell. Could we realistically break ...
15
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1answer
1k views

Can we taste electrons?

Why does licking a 9-Volt battery elicits a taste sensation? Can taste be stimulated by electrical stimulation?
14
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1answer
381 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 ...
13
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0answers
2k views

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?
11
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1answer
159 views

What portions of the brain have drastic changes in activation when we “sense” someone is there?

I was watching an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ("Commando") where he plays an elite soldier (surprise). An enemy tries to sneak up on him, and Arnold says that he smelled the other guy ...
10
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1answer
183 views

Why does getting certain chemicals in cuts hurt?

More specifically, shampoo. What are the mechanics of detecting a noxious chemical stimulus in terms of which receptors recognise what, how do they do it, and how is this information relayed to the ...
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3answers
2k views

How are our senses dimmed during sleep?

Our senses are not as sensitive during sleep compared to wake. There is an arousal threshold during sleep that only when it is overcome will it wake a person up. My question is how is this arousal ...
9
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1answer
278 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 ...
9
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1answer
341 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 ...
9
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1answer
258 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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3answers
4k views

Can a human smell through the ears?

The title does, prima facie, appear absurd. Performing a swallowing action whilst pinching the nostrils shut gives the impression of listening through a bucket filled with water around the head; ...
8
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1answer
281 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 ...
8
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1answer
267 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 ...
8
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2answers
657 views

How do ants sense imminent rainfall?

I have always been told to watch to see if ant-hole mounds are built up as a sign of imminent rainfall. My questions are, if what I have always been told is true, then by what mechanism do ants ...
8
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1answer
168 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 ...
8
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0answers
562 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 ...
7
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2answers
327 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?
7
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1answer
101 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?
7
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1answer
2k views

Does the human ear adapt to noise levels?

I have noticed lately that if I go to sleep, when I have my radio running, it is on lowest volume, I still consider it kind of loud. In the morning, when being on the edge of waking up, I hear the ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Why dogs move their noses when smelling?

I read on Wikipedia that: The wet nose, or rhinarium, is essential for determining the direction of the air current containing the smell. Cold receptors in the skin are sensitive to the cooling of ...
7
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3answers
16k views

Why do I smell flowers after sneezing? [closed]

Often when I sneeze, I smell flowers for a few seconds afterwards. I've done some searching on the internet, and apparently it's something that is at least not entirely uncommon, although the exact ...
7
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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 ...
6
votes
1answer
11k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
404 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
141 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 ...
6
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1answer
135 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 ...
5
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1answer
527 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? ...
5
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1answer
82 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 ...
5
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1answer
156 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 ...
5
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1answer
44 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, ...
5
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3answers
299 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 ...
4
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1answer
144 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
570 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? ...
4
votes
1answer
53 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
4k 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.
4
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1answer
593 views

Will a completely removed cat whisker grow back?

I just accidentally pulled out, while playing, my cat's whisker entirely, follicle and all. I feel terribly as I know she is a kitten and whiskers are rooted deep in a place rich in nerves. I'm ...
4
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2answers
157 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" ...
4
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1answer
1k views

Why Do Nerve Signals Get Crossed?

First off, I don't know if this is a normal healthy thing to occur. There have been many times where I have an itch on say my arm and I scratch it, only to feel the scratching elsewhere on my body. I ...
4
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1answer
57 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 ...
3
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1answer
668 views

What is the known maximum ranging distance of a bat's sonar?

Bats are known to navigate by using echo-location. How far away can a bat detect an object by its sonar?
3
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2answers
245 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 ...
3
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2answers
77 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 ...
3
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1answer
127 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 ...
3
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1answer
209 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
343 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
183 views

How is olfactory acuity rated/measured?

Acuity of one's sight is rated on the 20/20 scale. An online search appeared to indicate there is no comparable 'standard' to rate olfactory acuity. How is acuity of the olfactory system rated?
3
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1answer
198 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 ...
3
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0answers
84 views

Do humans have chemosensors for nutrients or chemicals? [closed]

I'm reading about chemoreceptors on Wikipedia, and see that the typical ones are mentioned: taste, smell, CO₂. I would like to learn more about the other kinds of chemoreceptors that humans may ...