Week 5

Latest week has provided us plenty of good times with the course book. The subjects of the week covered chemical senses, both taste and smell, and the function of the eye and central visual system. In addition to these, the course had an online excursion to the ANI (Aalto NeuroImaging), which means that the course has kept us busy. Despite of that, we still find the course inspiring and uplifting in regards of new ways of thinking about already somewhat familiar subjects.

In a nutshell, the chemical senses chapter brought me some extra notes on taste, or gustation, and smell, or olfaction. E.g. for some people, cilantro is a delight whereas for some like me it’s the worst taste ever experienced. I also noted how the olfactory system differs from other sensory systems by the neuronal pathway. I was left wondering, how this could be utilised. For example, could some future medication exploit the olfactory system?

The chapters about the eye and central visual system gave us quite a few ideas to discus of. For example, if a person would have four different kind of cone photoreceptors and they would see 65 different colours, how different would the world appear? Would they see nuances that are invisible to us and what would they be like? I also wonder, how animals, that detect UV-light, perceive the world? Is UV-light simply one colour among the other three for them or is it a whole new scale on top of the colour range of visual light? Returning to human eyesight and the interpretation of it, we discussed why some people seem to see same colours differently. An example of this are some shades of lime, which some perceive as greens and some as bright yellows. We wonder if this is a question of learning to identify colours or actually seeing them differently.