4: Chemical Senses, Eye, Central Visual System

This week lecture was about the chemical senses (taste = gustatory and smell = olfactory), the eye and the central visual system. This week we learned a lot of new things, since each of these topics involve huge amount of information in order to understand their function. Especially, learning how our vision works was literally eye opening. 

However, regarding the chemical senses, what we found interesting was, how the information from the olfactory bulb to olfactory cortex differs from other sensory axons, since it doesn’t go through thalamus. It is also highly interesting how we detect all the different odors in our orbitofrontal cortex. It is discussed that the olfactory maps may be used the distinguish different chemicals, but there must be something that reads and understand it. Also the temporal coding in olfactory system might have a part in distinguishing the chemicals. From the side of gustatory sense, what we found most interesting, were the transduction mechanisms of the different tastes (sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness and  umami). We learned that saltiness and sourness have similar transduction mechanism, whereas sweetness, bitterness and umami have similar transduction mechanisms.

Regarding our vision, there were very many new things we learned. Especially interesting was the whole process how the photoreceptors of our retina can convert light energy into neural activity. Other highly interesting thing was, how the image is then formed in our brain, and also more deeper, how we can for example recognize objects and movements (the dorsal and ventral streams). 

Alexandra & Alisa

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