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BIO304: Human Physiology

Unit 6: The Sensory System   This unit reviews the mechanics behind sensory reception and our interpretation of sensory input. In this unit, you will learn how our sensory organs receive external stimuli, such as noise, images, food, etc., and how the brain processes and translates them so that they are perceived.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit should take approximately 7 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 6.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 6.4: 0.5 hours

☐    Subunit 6.5: 2.5 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to: - identify the touch receptors; - describe the modalities of taste; - describe the modalities of smell and the olfactory pathway; and - describe the structure of the ear and the role of the inner, middle, and outer ear in hearing and equilibrium.

6.1 General Properties of Special Senses   - Reading: Wikibooks’ Human Physiology: “Senses” Link: Wikibooks’ Human Physiology: “Senses” (HTML)

 Instructions: Click on the link above and read this entire webpage
to understand how our special senses are more directly linked to the
central nervous system. Attempt the review questions at the end of
the reading. After completing the questions, click on the link at
the beginning of the section to review the answers.  

 Reading this webpage and answering the review questions should take
approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.2 Taste   - Web Media: WISC-Online’s “The Sense of Taste” Link: WISC-Online’s “The Sense of Taste” (Flash)

 Instructions: This is a simple, interactive overview of the sense
of taste. Notice how the structure of the taste bud (onion shaped)
is important for the function of taste. You may want to review the
12 Cranial Nerves when you are given the option to do so in this
exercise. At the end, practice what you learned with the labeling
exercise.  

 Studying this material should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.3 Smell   - Web Media: WISC-Online’s “The Sense of Smell” Link: WISC-Online’s “The Sense of Smell” (Flash)

 Instructions: This short interactive animation shows how chemicals
around us are detected and converted into the sense of smell. The
sounds associated with the animation may not be especially
appealing, so if it bothers you, turn down your volume.  

 Studying this animation should take approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

6.4 Vision   - Web Media: YouTube: Bausch & Lomb’s “A Journey through the Human Eye: How We See” Link: YouTube: Bausch & Lomb’s “A Journey through the Human Eye: How We See” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Click on the link above, and watch this YouTube video
for a brief, simplified visual illustration of the focusing
mechanism in the eye. This is a very basic video that only begins to
describe the complexity of the human eye.  

 Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

6.5 Hearing and Equilibrium   - Assessment: McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center: Seeley, Stephens, & Tate’s “The Special Senses: Chapter Quiz” Link: McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center: Seeley, Stephens, & Tate’s “The Special Senses: Chapter Quiz” (HTML)

 Instructions: Complete the above quiz after working through all the
material in this unit in order to test your understanding of sensory
system physiology.  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 2 hours.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: YouTube: Siemens’ “How the Human Ear Works” Link: YouTube: Siemens’ “How the Human Ear Works” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Click on the link above and watch the video for a brief visual illustration of the auditory mechanism of the ear. Although this video is short, it provides a lot of good information about how the ear works to transmit sound waves.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.