Questions tagged [senses]

The physiological mechanisms by which organisms perceive their environment.

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How to pit viper pits maintain high sensitivity across a wide temperature range?

Pit viper infrared vision works nothing like our photochemical rods and cones. It would be blinded by its own thermal noise it if did. Instead, they are sensitive to changes of temperature [of only ...
Kevin Kostlan's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
97 views

Do hair cells in the ear also vibrate at frequencies outside our hearing spectrum?

(The question has its origin because I asked myself in how far frequencies outside our perception can harm our hearing.) First of all, the energy of a mechanical wave (in this case, the sound wave, ...
iwab's user avatar
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Is there a detailed model of the resonance of the basilar membrane and excitation patterns of hair cells?

I've read that it's generally understood that deeper parts of the cochlea are sensitized to lower frequencies, and regions closer to the oval window are sensitive to high frequencies. In a sense, a ...
trbabb's user avatar
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27 votes
3 answers
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Did predators evolve eyes first?

I'm an engineer and biology is my weakest point, so please forgive if this question is dumb. Lately I've been wondering, "Why do animals that have eyes tend to have exactly 2 of them?" The ...
James Strieter's user avatar
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177 views

Do all animals with eyesight get an upside-down image on their retina, or is it right-side up with some?

here's as good an image as any for showing the thing about human vision that I am asking about: So, our retina gets an upside-down image. My question is, do all animals' eyes work this way? Or do ...
Hamish Todd's user avatar
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What Type of Color Vision do Mantises have?

I am trying to figure out what type of color vision mantises have, but stuff about mantis shrimp keeps coming up instead. All I was able to find was this one paper from 1971. It found evidence that ...
E Tam's user avatar
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Can dogs see infrared radiation, i.e., heat?

I, like most of my fellows, prefer my meals served piping hot. As all know, humans sometimes feed their dogs table scraps. If I put down a small piece of chicken from within a piping hot chicken pot ...
the_fens's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
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How well do ants and other insects smell odors other than pheromones, or are they highly tuned to pheromones only?

I have a vague understanding that ants and moths use pheromones in a variety of ways, but recently after a heavy rain my office is being explored by a some small ants looking for food. They decided it ...
UVphoton's user avatar
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Why do blood vessels in the eye not obstruct vision?

As light enters the eye, it reaches the photoreceptors at the "base" of the retina, which then pass that signal to the bipolar and ganglionic neurons -- the latter of which send the signal ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
12 votes
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Can mosquitoes be attracted by our voice?

In the dark, mosquitoes use CO2 to find blood host like us. However, 1) they are known to have excellent auditory organs (ref1, ref2) and 2) sound can be heard from any directions, contrary to odors ...
Noil's user avatar
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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 ...
David Sterlinsky's user avatar
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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?
Vorac's user avatar
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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 ...
Uretki's user avatar
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3 votes
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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 ...
user151841's user avatar
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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: ...
stevec's user avatar
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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 ...
Dirk Boer's user avatar
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What causes people to smell one persistent smell during Covid-19 infection?

Some of the people I know got COVID and they lost their sense of smell. They told me that they perceive one persistent smell, everywhere (like onion). Is this frequent for people with loss of smell? ...
O'Schell's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
407 views

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 ...
Pablo's user avatar
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7 votes
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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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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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 ...
Incnis Mrsi's user avatar
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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 ...
Joebevo's user avatar
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1 answer
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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 ...
user8577185's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
149 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 ...
biologist's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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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 ...
phil123456's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

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 ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
77 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 ...
Snack_Food_Termite's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
167 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 ...
Tailspin's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
116 views

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 ...
spraff's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
75 views

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 ...
Tailspin's user avatar
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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 ...
Combine's user avatar
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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 ...
Jehu314's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
31 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' ...
Areel Xocha's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
210 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,...
raisa_'s user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
yukashima huksay's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
5k views

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: (...
EMMs2008's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
55k 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 ...
Kevin Selva Prasanna's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
59 views

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 ...
Sensebe's user avatar
  • 137
3 votes
1 answer
289 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 ...
charlesdarwin's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
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: ...
hawkeye's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
257 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 ...
Cowrie's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
138 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 ...
Hans-Peter Stricker's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
271 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 ...
Patrik Gardewall's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
495 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 ...
Skyler's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
207 views

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 ...
Nav's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
399 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. ...
Tomáš Zato's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Confusedbyeverything's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
40 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 ...
B.Swan's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
205 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 ...
Mockingbird's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
2k 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?
C. R. Yasuo's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
283 views

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 ...
JM97's user avatar
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