Here are several questions designed to get you to think about how our sensory systems work. Answer each in two or three sentences each (or less; in some cases just a couple of words will do the trick).
1. What are sensory receptors? What do they do?
2. What is meant by transduction?
3. Consider visual receptors. How many types are there? Where are they located? What do they do? What is the end product of transduction in the visual receptors?
4. Consider auditory receptors. Where are they located? What do they do? What is the end product of transduction in the auditory receptors?
5. Consider taste receptors. Where are they located? What do they do? What is the end product of transduction in the taste receptors?
6. Are the sensory experiences we have from each type of energy determined by the receptors, the energy, or the brain? What evidence is there about this question (see my lectures this week)?
7. Why do we get different sensory experiences, different sensory qualia, from these different forms of energy even though, in each case, the end product of transduction is the same?
8. Radio waves, X-rays, and gamma rays, just like light, are all forms of electromagnetic radiant energy. Why do we only get sensations (sensory qualia) from light and not from these other forms of electromagnetic radiation?
9. Imagine an alien life form that has receptors that transduce radio waves (one natural source of radio waves is the sun and other stars). In the presence of radio waves, what would this alien life form experience?
10. Do smells exist in the world independent of brains and sensory systems? Do roses really possess good smell and do rotten foods or feces really possess bad smell? What adaptive functions might be served by brain circuits designed to make some things smell good, and other things smell really bad?
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