The Brain, the senses

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brain matter

Proprioception (pronounced /ˌproʊpri.ɵˈsɛpʃən/ pro-pree-o-sep-shən), from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own” and perception, is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement.


It is distinguished from exteroception, by which we perceive the outside world, and interoception, by which we perceive pain, hunger, etc., and the movement of internal organs.

PINEAL EYE (noun) a sensory structure capable of light reception located on the dorsal side of the diencephalon in various reptiles PINEAL EYE used as a noun is very rare.

Meaning: A sensory structure capable of light reception located on the dorsal side of the diencephalon in various reptiles Synonyms: pineal eye; third eye Hypernyms (“pineal eye” is a kind of…): receptor; sense organ; sensory receptor (an organ having nerve endings (in the skin or viscera or eye or ear or nose or mouth) that respond to stimulation) Holonyms (“pineal eye” is a part of…): betweenbrain; diencephalon; interbrain; thalmencephalon (the posterior division of the forebrain; connects the cerebral hemispheres with the mesencephalon)

Analogous to human senses

Other living organisms have receptors to sense the world around them, including many of the senses listed above for humans. However, the mechanisms and capabilities vary widely.

Echolocation. Certain animals, including bats and cetaceans, have the ability to determine orientation to other objects through interpretation of reflected sound (like sonar). They most often use this to navigate through poor lighting conditions or to identify and track prey. There is currently an uncertainty whether this is simply an extremely developed post-sensory interpretation of auditory perceptions or it actually constitutes a separate sense. Resolution of the issue will require brain scans of animals while they actually perform echolocation, a task that has proven difficult in practice. Blind people report they are able to navigate and in some cases identify an object by interpreting reflected sounds (esp. their own footsteps), a phenomenon known as human echolocation.

Smell Most non-human mammals have a much keener sense of smell than humans, although the mechanism is similar. Sharks combine their keen sense of smell with timing to determine the direction of a smell. They follow the nostril that first detected the smell. Insects have olfactory receptors on their antennae.

Vomeronasal organ Many animals (salamanders, reptiles, mammals) have a vomeronasal organ that is connected with the mouth cavity. In mammals it is mainly used to detect pheromones to mark their territory, trails, and sexual state. Reptiles like snakes and monitor lizards make extensive use of it as a smelling organ by transferring scent molecules to the vomeronasal organ with the tips of the forked tongue. In mammals, it is often associated with a special behavior called flehmen characterized by uplifting of the lips. The organ is vestigial in humans, because associated neurons have not been found that give any sensory input

Taste Flies and butterflies have taste organs on their feet, allowing them to taste anything they land on. Catfish have taste organs across their entire bodies, and can taste anything they touch, including chemicals in the waterVision Cats have the ability to see in low light due to muscles surrounding their irises to contract and expand pupils as well as the tapetum lucidum, a reflective membrane that optimizes the image. Pitvipers, pythons and some boas have organs that allow them to detect infrared light, such that these snakes are able to sense the body heat of their prey. The common vampire bat may also have an infrared sensor on its nose.It has been found that birds and some other animals are tetrachromats and have the ability to see in the ultraviolet down to 300 nanometers. Bees and dragonfliesare also able to see in the ultraviolBalance Ctenophora have a balance receptor (a statocyst) that works very differently from the mammalian’s semi-circular canals.

Sensing gravity Some plants (such as mustard) have genes that are necessary for the plant to sense the direction of gravity. If these genes are disabled by a mutation, a plant cannot grow upright.

Not analogous to human senses

Electroreception (or electroception) is the ability to detect electric fields. Several species of fish, sharks, and rays have the capacity to sense changes in electric fields in their immediate vicinity. Some fish passively sense changing nearby electric fields; some generate their own weak electric fields, and sense the pattern of field potentials over their body surface; and some use these electric field generating and sensing capacities for social communication. The mechanisms by which electroceptive fish construct a spatial representation from very small differences in field potentials involve comparisons of spike latencies from different parts of the fish’s body. The only orders of mammals that are known to demonstrate electroception are the dolphin and monotreme orders. Among these mammals, the platypus has the most acute sense of electroception. Dolphins can detect electric fields in water using electroreceptors in vibrissal crypts arrayed in pairs on its snout and which evolved from whisker motion sensors. These electroreceptors can detect electric fields as weak as 4.6 microvolts per centimeter, such as those generated by contracting muscles and pumping gills of potential prey. This permits the dolphin to locate prey from the seafloor where sediment limits visibility and echolocation. Body modification enthusiasts have experimented with magnetic implants to attempt to replicate this sense,however in general humans (and it is presumed other mammals) can detect electric fields only indirectly by detecting the effect they have on hairs. An electrically charged balloon, for instance, will exert a force on human arm hairs, which can be felt through tactition and identified as coming from a static charge (and not from wind or the like). This is however not electroception as it is a post-sensory cognitive action. Magnetoception (or magnetoreception) is the ability to detect the direction one is facing based on the Earth’s magnetic field. Directional awareness is most commonly observed in birds. It has also been observed in insects such as bees. Although there is no dispute that this sense exists in many avians (it is essential to the navigational abilities of migratory birds), it is not a well-understood phenomenon

One study has found that cattle make use of magnetoception, as they tend to align themselves in a north-south direction. Magnetotactic bacteria build miniature magnets inside themselves and use them to determine their orientation relative to the Earth's magnetic field. The question of how useful magnetoception may be to human beings is subject of ongoing research. Pressure detection uses the organ of Weber, a system consisting of three appendages of vertebrae transferring changes in shape of the gas bladder to the middle ear. It can be used to regulate the buoyancy of the fish. Fish like the weather fish and other loaches are also known to respond to low pressure areas but they lack a swim bladder. Current detection The lateral line in fish and aquatic forms of amphibians is a detection system of water currents, consisting mostly of vortices. The lateral line is also sensitive to low-frequency vibrations. The mechanoreceptors are hair cells, the same mechanoreceptors for vestibular sense and hearing. It is used primarily for navigation, hunting, and schooling. The receptors of the electrical sense are modified hair cells of the lateral line system. Polarized light direction/detection is used by bees to orient themselves, especially on cloudy days. Cuttlefish can also perceive the polarization of light. Most sighted humans can in fact learn to roughly detect large areas of polarization by an effect called Haidinger's brush, however this is considered an entoptic phenomenon rather than a separate sense. Slit sensillae of spiders detect mechanical strain in the exoskeleton, providing information on force and vibrations.

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