Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 4AM, Day 5) – Neuroscience of the Senses
We started our Friday by examining a striking condition known as prosopagnosia, or face blindness. This cognitive disorder of perception makes visual recognition of faces incredibly difficult. Examining this condition allowed us to bring our vision unit to a close by examining the higher-level processing needed for us to understand our visual world in a meaningful way. Using an iPad app, students began to discover the underlying mechanisms at work in the somatosensory system, which is responsible for sensing stimuli such as touch, pressure, pain, and temperature. From this activity, they learned about the cell types and neural receptors used to detect these stimuli. We then used knowledge gained from this activity to form hypotheses about which areas along the arm and hand are most sensitive to touch. We then ran a two-point discrimination test on our arms, which examines the ability to discern two objects touching the skin as two separate points rather than one. Ask your neuroscientist-in-training which part of their arm and hand was most sensitive!