The Eight Senses: Smell and Taste

September 7, 2012
by Pharm Tao

The Eight Senses: Smell and Taste




Physical stimulus



Role of the Brain


Olfaction (smell) Chemical molecules in the air Molecules -> inhaled via the nostrils, mouth -> nasal cavity -> olfactory cilia, olfactory epithelium (covered with olfactory receptors) -> odor molecules dissolved -> stimulate the receptors -> action potentials -> olfactory nerve tracts -> the brain Olfactory nerve fibers, gland, dendrite, supporting cell, olfactory cilia Olfactory bulb (the smell center) -> neural messages -> temporal lobes, limbic system -> brain (drive and emotion centers)

e.g., a familiar smell -> emotional, nostalgic

Gustation (taste) Chemical molecules in the mouth for detecting unhealthy or nutritious (e.g., sweet, salty) substances On the surface of the tongue, in the cheeks, the mouth roof, the throat back: Fungiform papilla (taste bud), each with 50-150 receptor cells with microvilli Taste bud structure: taste pore, gustatory/taste hair, tongue epithelium, taste bud, gustatory/taste cell, supporting cell, basal cell, sensory nerve fiber Action potentials -> cranial nerves 7, 9 -> brain stem -> medulla -> thalamus -> limbic system, cerebral cortex Individual variation in taste sensitivity: nontaster -> supertaster


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