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BIO303: Neurobiology

Unit 8: Special Senses   This unit will cover all of our special senses. While you may know the four common ones (sight, smell, taste, hearing), you may not be familiar with the vestibular sense, which helps us orient ourselves in terms of head position, motion, and spatial awareness. Each of these senses has its own unique anatomy as well as system of detecting stimuli, and each sense projects to different parts of the brain. Because we depend on these senses for everyday function, they have sophisticated and complex mechanisms of action.  

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit will take you 18 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.5: 4 hours

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- identify the parts of the eye, define how eyes perceive visual signals, and the neuronal pathways that function to process visual information; - identify the parts of the outer, middle, and inner ear; - define how ears perceive auditory signals and the neuronal pathways that function to process auditory information; - identify the parts of the vestibular system and how this system functions in balance; - identify the parts of the olfactory system; - define how the olfactory system perceives smell, and define the neuronal pathways that function to process olfactory information; - identify the parts of the gustatory system; and - define how the gustatory system perceives tastes, and define the neuronal pathways that function to process taste information.

8.1 Vision   8.1.1 Eye Anatomy   - Reading: Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Neuroscience Lecture Series – 1997 Holiday Lectures: “Senses and Sensitivity: Neuronal Alliances for Sight and Sound” Link: Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Neuroscience Lecture Series – 1997 Holiday Lectures: “Senses and Sensitivity: Neuronal Alliances for Sight and Sound” (Adobe Flash or RealPlayer)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to the 1997 Holiday Lectures. Click on the link to Lecture 2: “The Science of Sight: Getting the Picture, by Jeremy Nathans, M.D., Ph.D,” then, on the right margin, click on “2. Contrasting the eye and how a camera works.” The video will begin at 5:45. Watch the video until Section 7, or until 41:06. This video will cover the topics outlined in sections 8.1.1, 8.1.2, and 8.1.3.
 
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8.1.2 Image Formation and Accommodation   - Reading: Davidson College: Webphysics: “The Human Eye” Link: Davidson College: Webphysics: “The Human Eye” (HTML and JAVA)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage. Follow the webpage’s instructions for visualization of the applet.
 
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8.1.3 Rods and Cones   Note: This topic is covered by the resource under subunit 8.1.1.

8.1.4 Phototransduction   - Reading: OpenWetWare: Bio254: “Phototransduction” Link: OpenWetWare: Bio254: “Phototransduction” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on “3. Phototransduction step by step,” and read all of section 3.
 
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8.1.5 On-center and Off-center Ganglia Cells   - Reading: University of Utah: Webvision’s “Outer Plexiform Layer” Link: University of Utah: Webvision’s “Outer Plexiform Layer (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down the webpage to the section titled “ON and OFF pathways of the retina are initiated at the photoreceptor to bipolar contacts.” Read this entire section.
 
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8.1.6 Optic Nerve, Optic Chiasm, and Visual Fields   - Reading: Dr. Ted M. Montgomery’s “Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology of the Human Eye - The Optic Nerve” Link: Dr. Ted M. Montgomery’s “Anatomy, Physiology & Pathology of the Human Eye - The Optic Nerve” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage.
 
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8.1.7 Cortical Visual Pathway   - Reading: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Valentin Dragoi’s “Ch 15: Visual Processing: Cortical Pathways” Link: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Valentin Dragoi’s “Ch 15: Visual Processing: Coritical Pathways” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire section titled “The Visual Pathway from Retina to Cortex,” focusing on the subsections “The Optic Nerve” and “The Lateral Geniculate Nucleus.”
 
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8.1.8 Visual Cortices   - Reading: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Valentin Dragoi’s “Ch 15: Visual Processing: Cortical Pathways” Link: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Valentin Dragoi’s “Ch 15: Visual Processing: Coritical Pathways” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Scroll down the webpage, and read the section titled “Visual Cortical Areas.”
 
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8.2 Auditory   8.2.1 Audible Spectrum   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 13: The Audible Spectrum” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 13: The Audible Spectrum” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage.
 
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8.2.2 Outer, Middle, Inner Ears   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: Ch 13: The Auditory System: “The Middle Ear,” “The Inner Ear,” and “The External Ear” Links: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: Ch 13: The Auditory System: “The Middle Ear, (HTML) “The Inner Ear,” (HTML) and “The External Ear (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire content of the webpages as well as the hyperlinks to the figures.
 
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8.2.3 Inner and Outer Hair Cells   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 13: Two Kinds of Hair Cells in the Cochlea” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch13: Two Kinds of Hair Cells in the Cochlea” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage, click on any embedded hyperlinks, and explore all figures.
 
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8.2.4 Mechanoelectrical Transduction   - Web Media: 1Lecture.com: “Effect of Sound Waves on Cochlear Structures” Link: 1Lecture.com: “Effect of Sound Waves on Cochlear Structures” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Watch the video.

 Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.  
    
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8.2.5 Integration of Information from Two Ears   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 13: Integrating Information from the Two Ears” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 13:  Integrating Information from the Two Ears” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage, click on any hyperlinks to figures, and read any accompanying text for each figure. The auditory system has a unique and intriguing way of figuring out the directional origin of sound; it uses selective signaling pathways. Be sure to understand how the system this works. 
 
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8.2.6 Inferior Colliculus and Auditory Space Map   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition “Ch 13: Integration in the Inferior Colliculus” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 13: Integration in the Inferior Colliculus” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage, click on all hyperlinks to figures, and read the accompanying text for each figure.
 
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8.2.7 Auditory Thalamus and Auditory Cortex   - Reading: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Lincoln Gray’s “Ch 13: Auditory System: Pathways and Reflexes” Link: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Lincoln Gray’s “Ch 13: Auditory System: Pathways and Reflexes” (HTML and Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage. Then, take the quiz at the end of the page.
 
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8.3 Vestibular System   8.3.1 Otolith Organs   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 14: The Otolith Organs: The Utricle and Sacculus” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 14: The Otolith Organs: The Utricle and Sacculus” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage, click on the links to any figures, and read the accompanying text for each figure. 
 
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8.3.2 Semicircular Canals   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 14: The Semicircular Canals” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 14: The Semicircular Canals” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage, and click on and read the text for any embedded hyperlinks. This reading also covers section 8.3.3.
 
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8.3.3 Angular and Linear Accelerations   Note: This topic is covered by the reading under subunit 8.3.2.

8.3.4 Scarpa’s Ganglion   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 14: Central Vestibular Pathways: Eye, Head, and Body Reflexes” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 14: Central Vestibular Pathways: Eye, Head, and Body Reflexes” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage and explore all hyperlinks to figures. This reading also covers section 8.3.5.
 
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8.3.5 Vestibular Pathways   Note: This topic is covered by the reading beneath subunit 8.3.4.

8.4 Olfaction   8.4.1 Olfactory System Anatomy   - Lecture: Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Neuroscience Lecture Series – 1997 Holiday Lectures: “Senses and Sensitivity: Neuronal Alliances for Sight and Sound” Link: Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Neuroscience Lecture Series – 1997 Holiday Lectures: “Senses and Sensitivity: Neuronal Alliances for Sight and Sound” (Adobe Flash or RealPlayer)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to 1997 Holiday Lectures. Click on the link to “Lecture 1 - Sensory Transduction: Getting the Message, by A. James Hudspeth, Ph.D., M.D.,” 

 Watch the video from 28:00 to 31:00.  

 Watching this video should take approximately 5 minutes.   
    
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8.4.2 Odorants, Threshold, and Adaptation   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Olfactory Perception in Humans” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Olfactory Perception in Humans” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage and explore all hyperlinks to figures. For adaptation, see section 8.4.3.
 
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8.4.3 Odorant Receptors and Olfactory Receptor Neurons   - Reading: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Max Hutchin’s “Ch 9: Chemical Senses: Olfaction and Gustation” Link: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Max Hutchin’s “Ch 9: Chemical Senses: Olfaction and Gustation” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the introduction, and scroll down to the “Olfactory System” section.
 
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8.4.4 Signal Transduction of Olfactory Neurons   - Lecture: Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Neuroscience Lecture Series – 1997 Holiday Lectures: “Senses and Sensitivity: Neuronal Alliances for Sight and Sound” Link: Howard Hughes Medical Institute: Neuroscience Lecture Series – 1997 Holiday Lectures: “Senses and Sensitivity: Neuronal Alliances for Sight and Sound” (Adobe Flash or RealPlayer)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to 1997 Holiday Lectures, then click on “Lecture 1 - Sensory Transduction: Getting the Message, by A. James Hudspeth, Ph.D., M.D.” Next, in the right margin, click on “6. Encoding the signal and transmission to the brain.”

 Watch the video until the 39 minute mark.  

 Watching this video should take approximately 40 minutes.  
    
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8.4.5 Central Projections of Olfactory Bulb   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Central Projections of Olfactory Bulb” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Central Projections of Olfactory Bulb” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage; be sure to explore the text for any embedded hyperlinks. 
 
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8.5 Gustation   8.5.1 Taste System Anatomy   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: The Organization of the Taste System” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: The Organization of the Taste System” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage; be sure to explore the text for any embedded hyperlinks.  
 
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8.5.2 Five Perceived Tastes   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Taste Perception in Humans” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Taste Perception in Humans” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage.
 
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8.5.3 Taste Cells and Taste Buds   - Reading: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Max Hutchin’s “Ch 9: Chemical Senses: Olfaction and Gustation” Link: The University of Texas’s Neuroscience Online: Dr. Max Hutchin’s “Ch 9: Chemical Senses: Olfaction and Gustation” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the introduction and the “Gustatory System” section.
 
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8.5.4 Distribution of Taste Buds   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “The Organization of the Taste System” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “The Organization of the Taste System” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage.
 
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8.5.5 Supertasters   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Idiosyncratic Responses to Various Tastants” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Idiosyncratic Responses to Various Tastants” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage.
 
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8.5.6 Transduction of Gustation Signals   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Taste Receptors and the Transduction of Taste Signals” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Taste Receptors and the Transduction of Taste Signals” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage; be sure to explore the text for any embedded hyperlinks. 
 
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8.5.7 Neural Coding   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Neural Coding in the Taste System” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Neural Coding in the Taste System” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage; be sure to explore the text for any embedded hyperlinks.
 
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8.5.8 Solitary Tract and Solitary Nucleus   - Reading: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Central Processing of Taste Signals” Link: NCBI Bookshelf’s version of Sinauer Associates, Inc., Purves, Augustine, Fitzpatrick, et al., editors’ Neuroscience, 2nd Edition: “Ch 15: Central Processing of Taste Signals” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the entire webpage; be sure to explore the text for any embedded hyperlinks. 
 
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  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Quiz” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Quiz (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Complete the entire assessment. You can check your answers with The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Answer Key (PDF).