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I wonder how our different sensory organs (e.g., eyes, nose, ears, etc.) work automatically without our conscious efforts or without our command. We don't have to tell our eyes how to see, our ears how to hear, etc. How does this work?

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closed as too broad by theforestecologist, kmm, David, Bryan Krause, The Last Word Feb 17 '18 at 16:14

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Read: Autonomic Nervous system $\endgroup$ – Serotonin Dec 12 '17 at 3:46
  • $\begingroup$ I think this is really two questions, 1: how do our senses work. And 2: why don't/can't we control them consciously. $\endgroup$ – Oliver Houston Feb 10 '18 at 18:26
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Because consciousness evolved much much later than sense organs, and consciously seeing does not make much sense evolutionarily speaking.

We can consciously direct some sense organs, like the eyes, but signals sent sense organs by their very nature have to activated by outside stimuli otherwise they don't work as sense organs. If I could command my taste buds to taste cheese pizza while eating hay or poison it kinda defeats the purpose of having taste buds in the first place.

You really don't tell most of your body to do anything it happens automatically, becasue there is no benefit to doing it consciously, humans have more ability for fine motor control of some muscles becasue they help with things like speech or tool making, but having to learn to consciously control pupil dilation would take much longer and likely result in quite a bit of damage to the eye.

Now our eyes do have to learn how to see (or at least how to focus) and our brain has to learn how to interpret the impulses from our sense organs, but this is not really conscious learning. there is a cool experiment you can to to reteach your brain wrong see the inverted vision experiment but all the learning is without you being aware of it.

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The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) controls the actions that are performed without our conscious efforts.

It controls the automatic activities in the body. For instance, we cannot voluntarily increase or decrease our heart rate or slow down our digestive tract, these are the work performed by Autonomic Nervous system. I would suggest you to read about autonomic nervous system, you will understand.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology! Whilst this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. You have basically re-stated the premise of the question and provided a link, but no physiological mechanism of why that is. $\endgroup$ – vkehayas Dec 12 '17 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ The autonomic nervous system does not include the senses. $\endgroup$ – Graham Chiu Feb 10 '18 at 17:08
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The special sense organs are really extensions of the brain and activation of the organs via stimuli such as light or sound directly fire neurons that message the cortex. This is not learned but just straight neural activation. Interpretation of those senses is called perception and that is learned as you grow, and achieve self perception.

http://www.medicalook.com/human_anatomy/systems/Sensory_organs.html

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