Sensation and Perception

  • Photo of Exploding Head Syndrome, Not Science Fiction!

    Exploding Head Syndrome, Not Science Fiction!

    Have you ever shot out of your bed because of a loud bang or crash?  Perhaps a flash of light accompanied the heart-stopping sound?  After hearing the noise, did you then walk around the house to investigate only to find nothing seemed to be out of place?  No windows were broken, nothing fell off any shelves, and your dog or…

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  • Photo of Body Transfer Illusion – Rubber Hand Illusion

    Body Transfer Illusion – Rubber Hand Illusion

    This is a fascinating phenomenon where the visual perspective of a subject is fooled into believing that an object is part of their own body. The best example of this is the Rubber Hand Illusion illustrated in the video below. From WikiPedia Body transfer illusion is the illusion of owning either a part of a body or an entire body other…

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  • Using Color to Keep Track of Objects

    The brain has trouble with keeping track of more than three objects at the same time. Color groupings, like the jerseys of a football team, helps us manage larger number of objects. How might you utilize color to help you organize studying?

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  • Extraordinary People: The Boy Who Sees Without Eyes

    This is a documentary about a boy who is blind, but has taught himself to use echo location to navigate around the world. Do you think his abilities are based on memorization of familiar activities and surroundings? Do you think someone who was blind from birth would be able to use this technique to see?

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  • 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 colors to certain numbers, what would…

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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 go to? Which structure is…

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  • Exploring the Eye

    A narrator explores the structures of the eye with a simple corresponding diagram. What divides the eye into two sections? Which parts of the eye are transparent, and why is that important?

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  • 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 does this piece symbolize?

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  • 3-D Hearing Aid for People with Cochlear Implants

    This film includes simulations of what sounds sound like to people with cochlear implants with and without the new technology. Why is there a controversy surrounding cochlear implants?

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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 is typically occurring physiologically? What…

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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. Try listening to the video with…

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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 is Haptic Exploration demonstrated here?

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  • 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?

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  • 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?

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  • 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 glands stimulated?

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  • The Sense of Taste

    A short animated diagram introduces the perception of taste starting with the detection of food molecules all the way to the brain. How does our gustatory system operate?

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