45 Sensory Systems

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  • Created on: 24-05-21 19:30
Define a sensor
Cell that is responsive to a particular type of physical or chemical stimulation.
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Define sensory transduction
The transformation of environmental stimuli or information into neural signals.
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State the function of a receptor protein
A protein that can bind to a specific molecule, or detect a specific stimulus, within the cell or in the cell’s external environment.
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Define receptor potential
The change in the resting potential of a sensory cell when it is stimulated.
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Define a stretch receptor
A modified muscle cell embedded in the connective tissue of a muscle that acts as a mechanoreceptor in response to stretching of that muscle.
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Define a sensory organ
Structures that convert types of internal or environmental energy into electrical signals used by the nervous system.
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Define a sensory system
A set of organs and tissues for detecting a stimulus; consists of sensory cells, the associated structures, and the neural networks that process the information.
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State the function of a chemoreceptor
A receptor protein that binds to specific molecules (such as odorant molecules or pheromones) in the environment.
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State the function of a ligand
Any molecule that binds to a receptor site of another (usually larger) molecule.
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Define olfaction
The sense of smell.
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Define an olfactory bulb
the olfactory integration area of the brain
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Define an odorant
An odorant is a molecule in the environment that binds to and activates an olfactory receptor protein on the cilia of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs).
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Define an olfactory receptor neuron (ORN)
Neurons with receptors for different odorants.
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Define a pheromone
A chemical substance used in communication between organisms of the same species.
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Define a vomeronasal organ
Chemosensory structure embedded in the nasal epithelium of amphibians, reptiles, and many mammals. Often specialized for detecting pheromones.
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Define gustation
The sense of taste.
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State the function of taste buds
A structure in the epithelium of the tongue that includes a cluster of chemoreceptors innervated by sensory neurons.
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Define a mechanoreceptor
A cell that is sensitive to physical movement and generates action potentials in response.
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Define a Merkel's disc
Slowly adapting skin mechanoreceptors that provide continuous information about anything touching the skin.
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Define a Meissner corpuscles
Rapidly adapting skin mechanoreceptors sensitive to light touch and vibration. Found primarily in non-hairy skin; provide continuous information about changes in things touching the skin.
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Define a Ruffini ending
Slowly adapting stretch receptor in the skin.
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Define a Pacinian corpuscle
Encapsulated mechanoreceptors in deep skin sensitive to pressure and vibration.
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State the function of a muscle spindle
Mechanoreceptors embedded in skeletal muscle that sense changes in the length of the muscle.
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State the function of a Golgi Tendon Organ
A mechanoreceptor found in tendons and ligaments; provides information about the force generated by a contracting muscle.
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Define a hair cell
A type of mechanoreceptor in animals. Detects sound waves and other forms of motion in air or water.
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Define stereocilia
Fingerlike extensions of hair cell membranes whose bending initiates sound perception.
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Define a tympanic membrane
The eardrum.
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State the function of an eustachian tube
A connection between the middle ear and the throat that allows air pressure to equilibrate between the middle ear and the outside world. Also called the pharyngotympanic tube.
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Define an ossicle
Three bones in the middle ear that transmit vibrations from tympanum to the oval window of the inner ear. Individually named the malleus (“hammer”), incus (“anvil”), and stapes (“stirrup”).
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Define an oval window
The flexible membrane that, when moved by the bones of the middle ear, produces pressure waves in the inner ear.
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Describe the vestibular system
Structures within the inner ear that sense changes in position or momentum of the head, affecting balance and motor skills.
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Describe the structure of the cochlea
A spiral tube in the inner ear of vertebrates; it contains the sensory cells involved in hearing.
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State the function of the organ of Corti
Structure in the inner ear that transforms mechanical forces produced from pressure waves (“sound waves”) into action potentials that are sensed as sound.
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Define a round window
A flexible membrane at the end of the lower canal of the cochlea in the human ear. (See also oval window.)
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State the function of the semicircular canal
Three canals in the human inner ear that form part of the vestibular system.
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State the function of the Vestibule
A central part of the inner ear involved in balance.
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State the function of the cupula
Gelatinous swelling in the semicircular canals of the vestibular system. A cupula encloses hair cell stereocilia that react to shifting fluid in the canal ducts.
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State the function of an otolith
Crystals of calcium carbonate in the inner ear. Also called ear stones.
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State the function of a photoreceptor cell
In plants, pigments that trigger a physiological response when they absorb a photon. (2) In animals, the sensory receptor cells that sense and respond to light energy. (See cone cells, rod cells.)
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Define photosensitivity
Sensitivity to light.
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Define compound eyes
A substance made up of atoms of more than one element. (2) Made up of many units, as in the compound eyes of arthropods.
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Define ommatidia
The units that make up the compound eye of some arthropods.
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State the function of the sclera
The white outer layer of the eyeball continuous with the cornea.
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State the function of the cornea
The clear, transparent tissue that covers the eye and allows light to pass through to the retina.
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State the function of the Iris
The round, pigmented membrane that surrounds the pupil of the eye and adjusts its aperture to regulate the amount of light entering the eye.
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State the function of the pupil
The opening in the vertebrate eye through which light passes.
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State the function of the lens
In the vertebrate eye, a crystalline protein structure that makes fine adjustments in the focus of images falling on the retina.
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State the function of the retina
The light-sensitive layer of cells in the vertebrate or cephalopod eye.
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State the function of opsin
The protein portion of vertebrate visual pigments; associated with the pigment molecule 11-cis-retinal.
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State the function of the rhodospin
A vertebrate visual pigment involved in transducing photons of light into changes in the membrane potential of certain photoreceptor cells.
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State the function of rod cells
Light-sensitive cells in the vertebrate retina; these sensory receptor cells are sensitive in extremely dim light and are responsible for dim light, black and white vision.
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State the function of cone cells
In the vertebrate retina, photoreceptor cells responsible for color vision.
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State the function of fovea
In the vertebrate retina, the area of most distinct vision.
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Card 2


Define sensory transduction


The transformation of environmental stimuli or information into neural signals.

Card 3


State the function of a receptor protein


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


Define receptor potential


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


Define a stretch receptor


Preview of the front of card 5
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