The Sensory Brain

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The Sensory Brain
Science Course
Course CodeBSEN
Year Opened2001
Sites OfferedALE, CGV, GIL, HKY, LOS, SAN, SRF
Previously OfferedCHS, SPE
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2015):

Can cats actually see in the dark? Do snakes really smell with their tongues? How do optical illusions “trick” the brain? Using the senses as a framework, students answer these questions as they explore the anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. They discuss how the brain’s perception mechanisms turn sensory information into an organism’s experience of its surroundings. In addition to human senses, students also learn about sensory abilities alien to our own, such as sonar navigation and electric organs.

In the laboratory, students dissect organs such as a sheep brain and a cow eye in order to investigate how sensory structures relate to function. Students discover how the structure of the ear relates to sound location, balance, and hearing loss and test reflexes to discuss conduction of nerve impulses. After understanding structure and function of healthy systems, students then explore examples of deficiencies and disorders. Throughout the course, students employ the scientific method by creating hypotheses, collecting data from their classmates, and formulating their own answers to questions about sensation, perception, and the brain.