MRIs and Synesthesia

Cognitive neuroscientists have now documented hundreds of cases of synesthesia the condition in which one sense triggers the response of a different one. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, behavioral neuroscientists are discovering the neurological basis of synesthesia by comparing patients’ brains with those of healthy subjects. Do you know anyone who experiences synesthesia? If you had to attribute […]

Making Sense of Sensory Information

Because seeing is so important for our functioning in the world, efforts to understand how perceptions are generated have most often focused on vision. Based on current research in cognitive neuroscience, this film explores the challenges of explaining visual perception. Can you think of some other real-world examples of visual misperception besides a barber poll?

Cross Section of an Eyeball

This short clip consists of a cross-section diagram with eye structures labeled and corresponding narration. Structures such as the sclera, choroid, retina, ciliary body, and lens are defined and described. What part of the eye is described as having a smooth protective coat? What is the focusing mechanism of the eye?

The Visual Mechanism

The visual system is described by a speaker using a simple cross section diagram from above. Structures such as the visual cortex, optic nerve, optic chiasm, and lateral geniculate bodies are defined and described. How is the optic nerve stimulated? If an image is viewed on the inner side of the eye, which visual cortex does the image […]

A Day in the Life of an M.C. Escher Drawing

In this comedic piece, Eschers famous print Ascending and Descending is featured. Two of the men walking the never-ending staircase carry on a conversation. One of the men offers the other a banana. As to be expected, one slips on the banana and continues falling down the stairs. How does M.C. Escher create an illusion of depth? What […]

Hearing Motion

Imagine if words created a taste in your mouth, or music created bursts of color. This rare condition, called synesthesia, results in your senses being crossed. As this ScienCentral News video reports, researchers have now found people who “hear” motion. What kind of task would you devise to test people for this type of synesthesia?

Synesthesia – Heroes

This clip from the television show, Heroes, shows a woman playing a cello. As she plays, she sees colors radiating from the strings. There have been over 60 types of synesthesia identified, including color-graphemic synesthesia, ordinal linguistic personification, and number form synesthesia. Define synesthesia and describe some of the different manifestations. What are some of the causes?

Science of Sound

This NASA Connect segment explores all the basics of sound including how it works and how it travels. The video also explains how the ear works. What habits or processes threaten the sensory hair cells in the ear? Which part of the auditory system identifies the origin of sounds? Which part identifies the meaning of sounds?

Deafening Sound: Noise in the City

In this clip from the documentary Deafening Sound, Nancy Nadler, president of the League for the Hard of Hearing in New York City measures the decibel level at a crowded street corner. In other portions of this documentary, chronic ringing in the ear, or tinnitus, is also discussed. When one loses the ability to hear over time what […]

The Auditory Pathways

A simple illustration and narration describe the structures that transport sensory information all the way to the brain areas that process it. Where do the auditory pathways begin? Where is their endpoint? How does sound received by one ear travel to both cortexes?

Tinnitus: Can You Hear That?

A public service announcement begins with young men and women holding their ears and asking can you hear it? Some people admit that they hear it all the time. A ringing noise surfaces to simulate the experience of tinnitus. What causes tinnitus? What are some of the risk factors for young adults?

Benny Lava

This is one of many videos from the artist Prabu Deva (aka Benny Lava) that has been posted on YouTube. People have gone through and transliterated what they believe he is singing that is, the words at the bottom of the clip are not what are actually being sung, but what someone thinks it sounds like. […]

The Human Skin Animation Video

This short animation provides a quick overview of the epidermis and dermis. The bodys largest organ is the skin, which serves to provide protection to the rest of the body. What are the various kinds of mechanoreceptors and where are they located in the skin? What is the function of each?

The Sensory Cortex and Touch

A narrator explains our sense of touch using simple diagrams. The sensory cortex is represented in red and has an arrow pointing to it. As the process of touch proceeds from the epidermis, the associated structures are highlighted and denoted with arrows. What is the function of Meissners corpuscles? How do Pacinian and Ruffini corpuscles differ?

The Tacto Phone

This video demonstrates The Tacto Phone, a concept developed by Oren Horev and Victor Szilagyi, which explored how the back of a mobile phone could be used as a space to engage the hand’s sense of touch. What is Haptic Exploration, and what do we use it for? Why is it vital to our everyday lives? How […]

Rubber Hand Illusion

The rubber hand illusion might help develop more realistic sensations for those who have lost a limb. What do you think accounts for the sensation that the hand is being touched? There are no nerves in a fake hand, so what are the amputees reacting to?

Virtual Reality for Soldiers Burn Pain

University of Washington researcher Hunter Hoffman has developed a cool virtual reality game that has actually been shown to make the excruciating rehabilitation fun. Paul Simon’s music from the album “Graceland” is played during the game. What other games might work in this kind of situation? What other applications could you see for this type of device?

Taste Centers

This clip goes into detail about some of the overlooked characteristics of the tongue, such as the different types of papillae, how salivary glands are connected to taste buds, and the base of the tongue. What are tastebuds and where are they located? What are the four types of papillae? Where are they located? When are the salivary […]

Supertaster’s Taste Buds

The documentary profiles a supertaster and discusses how our taste buds process different flavors. Computer generated footage is coupled with that from a dental camera, showing a person chewing food. How does the tongue of a so-called supertaster differ from the average persons? How prevalent are supertasters in the population? Why do children typically dislike bitter-tasting […]