Questions tagged [senses]

The physiological mechanisms by which organisms perceive their environment.

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28
votes
2answers
8k views

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: ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Can we taste electrons?

Why does licking a 9-Volt battery elicits a taste sensation? Can taste be stimulated by electrical stimulation?
22
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1answer
7k views

Why does mint oil feel cold on the skin?

When putting (japanese) mintoil on the skin it produces a cool feeling. You can experience this, when adding it to your bath or using a spray with mint oil on your skin. The cool feeling occures ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
13
votes
3answers
900 views

How does the brain immediately know when one's thirst has been quenched?

The question struck me the other day when I drank a glass of water. I understand that there are at least two conditions under which the brain signals thirst: extracellular thirst, when there's not ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Do humans perceive temperature or heat-flux? (or both?)

The general understanding is that when I touch an object, I perceive its (relative) temperature. A metal object at room temperature, however, will often feel cool to the touch. This leads me to ...
11
votes
1answer
635 views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

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. ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What creates the feeling of 'excess' blood pressure to an area of the body?

If I hang upside down, and feel blood rushing to my head, what structures are actually responsible for me "feeling" this excess flow of blood? Baroreceptors? Mechanoreceptors? Something else? ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Can “red” cone cells actually see much red light?

In electronics, the most common color scheme is the "red-green-blue" (RGB) scheme. This choice is often justified by claiming that the long- (L), medium- (M), and short- (S) type cones in the human ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does my eyes see a red spot when over exposed to light?

When I looked into my projector when it was on the blue screen it left a red spot in my vision. I should not have tried it but all the colors left a red spot. Why not a blue or yellow spot was left?
8
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
229 views

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,...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the smallest difference in light wavelength that the human eye can detect?

Is there a lower limit to the difference in wavelength (colour) our eyes can detect? If so, is this consistent between individuals? Are there any other traits correlated with precise colour vision?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the science behind the inaccurate perception of colors?

If I go into a green room (all walls are semitransparent and green) and spend some time - around 10+ min - in there, when I come out all my eyes see is white as pink. I see no (or very few other) ...
7
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
242 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
125 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Latency differences between our senses

I would be interested in knowing how long it takes between the moment something touches our skin and the moment something is activated in the brain. Also how long does it take in total until we ...
6
votes
1answer
864 views

What would happen if you “rewired” your eyes with your nose?

The nose sends sensory input through transduction of chemicals in the air via the olfactory nerves/tracts to the primary olfactory cortex. The eyes send sensory input through transduction of light ...
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Is it a coincidence that the sensory systems for smell, vision, taste, and hearing are all near each other in the head?

I was wondering if it's an evolutionary advantage to have many sensory systems in a small place of the body, the head. This applies to mammals, reptiles, synapsid, dinosaurs... and many more. My ...
6
votes
2answers
73 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Does our nose detect only if there is change in odor?

If I enter a room with certain odor, I can sense the odor. However, if I stay there for some time I cannot sense it anymore. A new entrant to the room can still smell it or I have to leave the room ...
6
votes
1answer
256 views

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 ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

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?
5
votes
1answer
218 views

Can other animals see black differently?

I am not sure if this is the right place for this question, but this is a debate that has been going on between two colleagues for days and I need a resolution because it's driving me crazy. So any ...
5
votes
0answers
374 views

When and why did humans start disliking the way we naturally smell? [closed]

Like many animals, humans produce a myriad of scents from sweating, bacteria, possibly pheromones, etc. Many of these scents are used throughout the animal kingdom for mate choice, recognition of ...
5
votes
2answers
18k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
171 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,...
4
votes
1answer
156 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
68 views

Relative sweetness

I have noticed that when I eat something sweet, then afterwards, I eat something else that is sweet, the second sweet food is not as sweet as it usually is. I am pretty sure many others have a similar ...
3
votes
1answer
20k views

Are there animals / mammals which only have one eye?

Do all animals (of a certain size and not thinking about worms) have the possibility to perceive depth? Do all mammals have at least two eyes? Are there mammals with more than two eyes?
3
votes
3answers
147 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
votes
1answer
209 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
4k 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
votes
1answer
217 views

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. ...
3
votes
1answer
86 views

What evolved to produce sweetness, plants or consumers? [closed]

I couldn't find an existing answer on this site, although I may be wrong. What evolved to produce "sweetness", a pleasant reaction to the presence of sugar? (A) Plants, using it to lure in consumers ...
3
votes
2answers
405 views

Can somebody be deaf to voices of some people only?

The voice of females is generally of high frequency, while that of males is generally of low frequency. Also, as we age, we gradually keep losing the ability of hearing sounds of high frequencies. ...
3
votes
0answers
188 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Could someone entirely absorb smells by smelling?

When smelling, your nose detects the smells by absorbing them. Does this mean that, if you were in an enclosed space, you could smell so much all the smell goes, and there is none of that molecule ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
701 views

Why is your taste affected due to sinuses?

I heard someone say "My sinuses are acting up, I can't taste the food." I don't think the person is lying, they probably believe this but I'm having trouble seeing how the sinuses would affect the ...
2
votes
1answer
378 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
337 views

How does the “heat vision” of some snakes work?

Some snakes have an infrared sense which is used to track warmblooded animals. How does that organ work? And would a similar organ be possible in a warmblooded animal?
2
votes
2answers
6k views

Depolarization and hyperpolarization in stereocilia of the inner ear

It’s a well mentioned fact that when the stereocilia of the cochlear hair cells bend in one direction, the hair cell depolarizes, and when the stereocilia bend in the other direction, the cell ...
2
votes
1answer
210 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
158 views

Anatomy of nervous system's sensory pathways

When I touch my hand on a hot stove, I feel pain. I'm interested in knowing all the main "endpoints" (components/parts of the body) that are involved in relaying this pain signal. As I understand it ...
2
votes
0answers
26 views

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' ...
2
votes
0answers
34 views

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 ...