Information provided by special senses can all be consciously perceived by the cerebrum, and some can also influence autonomic function. Each special sense has a specific organ devoted to it, along with specific cranial nerves that transmit the information back to the brain. Your task is the explore the relationship between the autonomic nervous system and one specific special sense (e.g., vision, gustation, equilibrium, olfaction, audition). You should spend approximately 3.5 hours on this assignment.
- Pick one special sense (vision, audition, gustation, olfaction, equilibrium) and prepare a written report of at least 1000 words answering the following bullet points:
- What cranial nerve(s) is(are) associated with your chosen special sense?
- Looking at the pathway for your chosen special sense, in what structure does the first synapse occur?
- Which part of the cerebrum is associated with processing your chosen special sense?
- Compare the difference in signal transduction between your chosen special sense organ and a somatic peripheral sensory nerve.
- Describe how sensory stimuli from your chosen special sense can trigger autonomic activation.
- Discuss the downstream effects at the organ and organismal levels.
- Discuss physiological consequences that can occur as a result of homeostatic imbalances in your chosen special sense organ.
Your paper should be formatted as a proper research paper with an introduction and conclusion. Do not simply follow the bullet points above, but really think about what you have learned and how that relates to other material we have covered, and knowledge you have from other courses you may have taken.
The Research and Report assignments in this course are capstone assignments for each module. You should be integrating everything that you learned in the textbook, explorations, discussions, and lab activities into your papers.