Questions tagged [senses]

The physiological mechanisms by which organisms perceive their environment.

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32 views

Why are there otoliths in the otolithic membrane of the saccule and utricle but there aren't in the cupula in the semicircular canal?

I know both of the 2 systems work quite similar the first (saccule and utricle) detect linear acceleration and semicircular canals play the role of angular acceleration detectors. I wonder if there is ...
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How do plants know to grow towards the light? [closed]

Plants lack a central nervous system. How do they know to drop leaves in full shade and to curve stems towards the current light source?
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Would green light look different if blue and red cones were deactivated

When looking at a graph plotting "blue", "green" and "red" cones reponses to different wavelengths, you can see that any wavelength trigerring a response from green cones ...
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What role does the eardrum and ossicles play in hearing, versus cilia?

Modern electronic sound recording equipment employs a physical membrane that triggers the piezoelectric effect in a metallic element, to transform sound waves into electric signals. I had always ...
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133 views

How many senses do humans have?

I recall learning that humans have 5 senses, but that may have been an over-simplification to focus on the most notable ones, or simply that no others were known about at the time. Wikipedia says: ...
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External "lungs" that process your blood the same as your real lungs do - would that stop your need for breathing?

So say your blood goes with a tube out of your body. In an external device all the chemical/biological magic would happen and it would be fed back to your body. Of course this doesn't exist (yet), but ...
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Are sensory mechanoreceptors and mechanical nociceptors the same type of neurons or are they different?

I always supposed the neurons / receptors which transmitted touch and pain were the same, since they react to stimulus which are the same but with different intensity, and they just sent a stronger ...
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How do snakes determine the direction of prey from their thermal infrared sensing pit organs?

This answer to How does the “heat vision” of some snakes work? explains the basic idea and there are several linked sources within that go into greater detail on the sensing mechanisms on a physical ...
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Which animals can see (or feel) the Moon’s infrared radiation?

The luminosity (bolometric) of the Moon in infrared is several times greater that its luminosity in visible light. Moreover, it may be rather possible for the Moon to be obscured by some fog or haze ...
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Does acuity of a re-mapped region of cortex depend on the need of the animal to resolve between two closely related stimuli?

From my informal research so far, I've learned that cortical magnification is evident in at least the visual cortex and the somatosensory cortex. My question is the following: If there were a ...
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1answer
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How quickly are plants able to sense changes in light intensity?

Evidently due to the process of photosynthesis, plants are able to "sense" light (as demonstrated by the phototropic response). My question is, how quickly are plants able to perceive ...
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139 views

Are there people blind to touch?

There are people who completely blind or deaf. Are there people who are completely blind to touch in a particular area or in the entirety of their body? If not, are there people in whom the ...
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Why isn't hearing the same as tasting? How do we feel and differentiate external stimuli?

When I was at school, I learned that: Skin, tongue, ears, and other sensory organs have sensors/convertors that turn external environment stimuli into "electric" signals. Neurons send information as ...
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Has anyone attempted to add extra senses to a creature through a BCI/Neural interface?

Basic BCI's (Brain computer interfaces) have been available for quite a while now and allow users to preform rudimentary tasks such as moving prosthetic limbs with force-feedback or moving a mouse on ...
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47 views

Can animals and humans be ranked in their ability to detect moisture?

One reason for insects being so successful - about 70% of all animal species - is their excellent ability to detect moisture. Take termites for instance. The soldiers boot out the flying reproductives ...
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Are there gaps in what our ears can hear?

I know about the hair cells in our Cochlea and it is the movement of the fluid that makes them vibrate. And it is this that activates the transmission of electrical signals to the brain that become ...
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Is there a scientific explanation for male and female fragrance preferences?

The following is only anecdotal evidence, but in my experience it's very consistent. When products have added fragrance (cosmetics, soap, air freshner, candles, etc), women often seem to enjoy the ...
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Do nerves work as I think they work and what does that mean for our senses?

Let me start off with a couple of metaphors. In the third Lord of the Rings film, a signal for help is sent from Minas Tirith to Gondor, using a chain of beacons. When the keepers of one of these ...
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Can creatures that can see color in completely different visible spectrum exists?

From wikipedia - "The visible spectrum is the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that is visible to the human eye." So humans can see the light from 400-700 nm and this is because our eyes can ...
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A speculative question about sensation

I know this is rather speculative and I am not a biologist, but I have womdered about this for a long time. I have always been able to pinpoint the central line of any part of my body exactly as if ...
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Efficacy of sonic kangaroo deterrents

Bender (2003) tested the efficacy of sonic kangaroo deterrents. Their device is static (and apparently ineffective). Has there been any rigorous testing of the whistle-like 'kangaroo deterrent' ...
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1answer
193 views

How exactly does sensory substitution work?

Sensory substitution, when one of sensory modality changes into another sensory modality to help someone restore the ability to perceive defective sensory using a working sensory modality. For example,...
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why do we tighten out muscles against cold?

When I'm in shower and I want to open the cold water on myself suddenly I make my muscles so tight before I open the water and that helps so much in being able to handle the shock. Why does tightening ...
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What is the direction of the processing of light by the (human) retina and how does it happen?

Quoting Textbook of Medical Physiology by Guyton and Hall, 2016, page 647, ...the functional components of the retina, which are arranged in layers from the outside to the inside as follows: (...
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How do we sweat immediately after drinking water on a hot day?

On hot summer days, when I drink water to quench my thirst, my body immediately responds by sweating in 5 to 10 seconds or maybe less. How does our body detect the presence of water in the stomach so ...
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Are there organisms sensing conformations, which we humans can't sense directly? [closed]

Are there organisms which can sense the conformations, which we humans can't sense directly, i.e. without using any equipment? If there are organisms which can sense conformations ("the shape or ...
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226 views

What causes Pseudomonas fragi to smell sweet?

I am working with Pseudomonas fragi and I could not help but notice that it smells sweet, which probably explains its species name 'fragi' from 'fragum', strawberry in Latin. Does anybody know what ...
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Why don't chilli peppers taste as hot in space?

The following commentator writes: Chili peppers don’t taste as hot in space as they do on Earth. Nobody knows why. We know that the 'hot' feeling of chilli peppers is caused by Capsaicin. We read: ...
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188 views

Can platypuses communicate via electroreception?

I know at least some electroreceptive fish are capable of basic communication with other members of their species via varying their own bioelectric signals. However, I can't find any information as ...
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What are the response frequencies of sensory neurons?

Both visual and auditory stimuli are sent to the brain via ganglion cells (retinal resp. spiral). Both are the first cells along their resp. pathways that produce action potentials. My question ...
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Question to the color scientists

I have a question. if you look at these two spectral diagrams (SPDs) from two different televisions that is calibrated to the same white point (D65) 6500K with a spectrometer. The problem is that ...
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1answer
295 views

Cold water sour taste

Recently I underwent a wisdom tooth extraction, and while there is still numbness I have observed something peculiar. If I drink cold water, it tastes sour, however the same effect is not observed ...
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Do creatures exist which can stop their hearing at will?

Many people would love to have the ability to shut out noise while sleeping, in the same way that we have eyelids to shut out light. If this capability exists in nature, it could offer clues to ...
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How exactly do mosquitoes navigate directly on target?

There is a question on mosquito orientation in darkness, however the answer does not address it very specifically and I'm more interested in mosquito ability to lock on target than general navigation. ...
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How do our eyes detect light at different frequencies?

Here is my confusion: we can see colored light of different wavelengths: form red to violet. To my understanding, these stimuli cause a confirmational change in the photoreceptors in our eyes and ...
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Is perception contrast based?

If I understand it correctly, humans can discriminate shades and colours based on their inherent contrast, as in we can see colors because there are different colors. Same for shades and for acoustic ...
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198 views

Empty room, Room full with stuffs & Auditory adaptation to reflection of sounds

Background When a room is full with stuffs like furniture, electronic utilities, books etc. it's hard to hear reflections of sounds made by us (talking, playing an instrument, sound from falling ...
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Why do humans not have a powerful sense of smell?

It seems like a useful ability to be able to detect many different things about, say, another organism. A lot of mammals have this ability. Why not humans? Did we evolve it out or never develop it?
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Why bipolar neurons in retina transfer information via graded potentials?

Why should bipolar cells prefer graded potentials to action potentials? My attempt: I know that graded potentials are better in processing information since stimulus is directly proportional to ...
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1answer
407 views

Why does olfactory sensation need lateral inhibition?

Why does olfactory sensation need lateral inhibition? If it's not helping in spatial discrimination then why is it needed? Don't we just smell the odour which is more concentrated? My attempt: It is ...
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Do birds ever fly in clouds?

Do (some) birds ever fly in fog or clouds so that they would not be able to see either the ground or the sun? Assuming the visibility is good enough so they can see obstacles in time to avoid them. ...
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How does a tiny spider interpret/cope with gravity?

The Question: Does a tiny spider know that it is walking on a wall or a ceiling as opposed to the (horizontal) ground? Does gravity play a role in this knowledge? Further thoughts: I am interested ...
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Did some senses evolve from other senses or are they considered independent?

Are there evolutionary connections between different senses, in such a way that one sense is evolved from the other or from a common root, e.g. the possibility that hearing and touch are derived from ...
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306 views

Origin of logarithmic sense responses?

It's my understanding that most human sensory systems obey an approximately logarithmic stimulus/response curve. This includes the visual system, auditory system, and the smallest perceptible ...
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Can any organisms see non-electromagnetic radiation?

Some examples would be cosmic rays, neutron radiation, alpha radiation, beta radiation, muon radiation, and antimatter radiation. Some related questions: How is non-electromagnetic radiation detected,...
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How do we feel temperature? [closed]

Recently I watched a Youtube Video by Veritasium He said we are actually feeling the rate of heat transfer, not the temperature. But how do we feel temperature? How is feeling temperature different ...
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Do humans learn to distinguish different senses?

Does a human being learn to differentiate between its senses at some stage in their development? Is there a time when it, for example, cannot tell if an input is a taste or a visual image? The ...
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3answers
5k views

Are there animal species that sense infrared light with their eyes?

I asked a question earlier today about birds with infrared vision but this time I am asking about animals in general. I know that many snakes have receptors between their eyes and their snout that ...
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287 views

Can LSD in very small amounts increase mental ability?

Can one take a small amount of LSD(acid) and not trip but still benefit from the intended purpose? It was said the military experimented with it for extra sensory abilities. It has also been said it ...
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Terminology regarding sensory receptors

I was recently asked the following question: Compare the following pairs of receptors in the same sensory system. Include in your discussion: The distribution in the sensory epithelium;...