Week 4:From Signal Transfer to Sensing

Fourth week started with a quiz and a lecture, like the previous weeks. This week the lecture was filmed agan. The topic of the week is chemical senses, eye, and central visual system. The exercise session was about the topics of the lecture. 

On the lecture

The lecture consisted of things we had already read from the book for this week’s quiz: chemical senses, eye and central visual system. So it was a good recap and made it easier to memorize the most important things. Also some of the more complicated topics (eg. how taste cells work) were explained well, so it was easier to actually learn them compared to  just reading the book. On the lecture, it was recommended to search some information about the nobel prize received for olfactory system research at 2004. After reading the nobel prize website, it was so amazing how one would assume that all of these kind of things would have already been solved a long time ago, but yet there is still so much more to find out.

The exercises

This week’s exercise session also covered the chemical senses, eye and central visual system. All the assignments had an interesting viewpoint to the subject, which made it possible to really give a good thought for the answers and also learn a lot of new things while searching for the solutions. Especially the task about the foul taste in Runeberg’s tart was fun, and the recommended article “Genetics of Taste and Smell: Poisons and Pleasures by Danielle Renee Reed and Antti Knaapila” was really fascinating and presented the ideas in an easy and interesting way. It was interesting to learn, that for example coffee is a learnt flavor; it’s actually bitter and therefore causes a rejective response, but the good feeling the caffeine overcomes that taste. Also the information of how people exhibit differences in perceiving bitter chemicals was interesting to read about. So all in all, by doing this week’s exercises it was possible to learn a lot of new interesting things and fun facts about how the brain works. 

At home

There was no ready made flash cards for this week, and the quiz was about several chapters. Luckily the topics were interesting and there is a bit more time before the exercise deadline.

What did we learn?

This week gave a good recap for how the senses function but also gave a lot of new more detailed information. For example the function of the eye and the formation of an image was somewhat familiar to us already, but this week we learnt it even in greater detail. Also the first assignment at the exercise session – the comparison of human and octopus eye – really gave some new perspective and deepened our knowledge. For example the fact about blind spot in the human eyes was already familiar to us, but the exact reasons behind it were new, as well as the fact that octopus eye has a different structure and therefore doesn’t have blind spots. 

Posted by Ona Westerlund

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