Sensing the World

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by Danielleshooky
Last updated 5 years ago

Human Anatomy

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Sensing the World

The first thing that happens for vision is that light is gathered into our eyes. Once the light hits the eye, it goes through a hole in our eye that is referred to as the pupil. The pupil opens up or closes in order to let light in. The ring of muscle tissue that forms the colored portion of the eye is called the iris. The iris's responsibility is to control the size of the pupil (dilate or constrict). After going through the pupil, the light hits the lens. The lens changes shape depending on whether we are looking at something close to us or far away from us. The ability of the lens to change shape is referred to as accommodation. The lens actually reflects the light upside down and inverted towards the retina. Our brains must switch the image back to right side up. The retina, also called the brian of the eye, is made up of several layers of cells and light must pass through all of them to experience transduction. The first layers of the brain that are activated by light are the rods, which see only black and white and are located throughout the outside of the retina, and the cones, which see color and are located in the center of the retina. After that the light is sent to a second layer and then a third layer of cells which are called the ganglion cells. The axons of these cells make up the optic nerve which sends information to the brain. The thalamus is the part of the brain that sends the visual information to the occipital lobe in the cerebral cortex. The image is interpreted in the visual cortex in the occipital lobe. Shrek's vision is adapted to help him on a daily basis. For example, in the beginning of the movie he does not find Fiona attractive at all because she is a human, yet when she turns into an ogre he finds her beautifiul. His vision has adapted to help him find something that most people find ugly, attractive.

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The process of hearing really begins when the visible part of the ear, referred to as the outer ear, sends the sound waves through the auditory canal to the eardrum, which causes the eardrum to vibrate. Inside the middle ear, three tiny bones: the hammer, anvil, and stirrup pick up these vibrations and send them to the cochlea. The cochlea is a coiled, bony, fluid-filled tube that is located within the inner ear. The vibrations cause the cochlea's membrane, called the oval window, to vibrate which in turn jolts the fluids that fill the tube. The motion of this fluid being moved causes ripples in the basilar membrane which causes the hair cells on its surface to bend. The movement of these hair cells causes impulses in the cells surrounding it. The axons of these cells come together to form the auditory nerve. This nerve then sends neural messages through the thalamus to the auitory cortex in the brain's temporal lobe. The messages are sent to the thalamus and are then sent on the the auditory cortex which helps to interpret the messages. Shrek's auditory system had to adapt to make it so that he liked the sound of things such as his own farts. In the movie he enjoys the sound of these things while other people are completely grossed out by the sound.

Taste is thought to be a chemical sense. All of the bumps and ridges, or inflammations, on everyone's tongues are referred to as papilae. Each of these contain taste buds, which contain a pore that catches food chemicals. In eacg taste bud there are many taste receptor cells that project hairs that can sense food molecules. Some receptors respond mostly to sweet, salty, or bitter tasting things. When one of these are triggered, the temporal lobe of your brain will be alerted. The temporal lobe is the part of the brain that will process the taste of certain foods. Shrek's sense of taste had to adapt so that he liked the taste of things that ogre's eat such as rat and toad based foods. While other people find these things disgusting, Shrek's taste buds have adapted to enjoy these things.

Sensing the World

Smell is also a chemical sense. We are able to smell things when the molecules of a substance are carried through the air to a tiny cluster of receptor cells at the top of each nasal cavity. The receptor cells send messages to the brain's olfactory bulb which in turn sends messages to the temporal lobe's primary smell cortex and to the parts of the limbic system involved in memory and emotion. Shrek's sense of smell has had to adjust so that he enjoys the smell of things such as the swamp that he lives. Most people would not be able to stand the odor, but he had adapted to like this smell.

There are sensors in your joints, tendons, bones, ears, and skin that enable your kinesthesis, which is your sense of the position and movement of your body parts. Any change in position of a body part, interacting with vision gives you your kinesthesis sense.Your vestibular sense is the sense of body movement and position, including balance. The semicircular canals, which look like three-dimensional pretzels and the vestibular sacs, which connect the canals to the cochlea, are located within your inner ear and contain fluid that moves every time your head tilts or rotates. The movement of this fluid activates hairlike receptors that send messages to the cerbellum at the back of your brain, which allows you to sense your body position and movements as well as maintain your balance. A time when Shrek had to use both of these senses would be when he had to cross that rickety bridge in order to get to the castle to rescue the princess. If he hadn't been able to keep his balance then he never would have made it to the castle and he never would have met Fiona.

The sense of touch is actually a mix of distinct skin senses for pressure, warmth, cold, and pain. When someone gets hurt, for example, sensory receptors that are referred to as nociceptors respond to the potential damage by sending an impulse to the spinal cord. The spinal cord will then send messages to the sensory cortex in the brain which will interpret the signal as pain and tells you to pull your hand away from the fire. Shrek's sense of touch has had to adapt so that he likes the feeling of being dirty and covered in mud. He lives in a swamp and as an ogre he gets really dirty and he has had to adapt to like the feeling of mud or dirt on his skin while everyone else would want to take a bath.


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