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Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 4AM, Day 6) – Neuroscience of the Senses

Posted by on Monday, July 18, 2016 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY.

Today we started up our second week of Neuroscience of the Senses! We started out the day with a challenging activity before starting up our unit on the auditory system. Prior to covering the actual setup of the auditory system, the students were tasked with plotting out how they would design a sensory system that detected sound. This included identifying important aspects of sound like volume and frequency, and determining how neurons of their system might encode these aspects into neural activity. This was a tough one, but we worked through it as a group! We then learned about how the auditory system is actually set up in humans. From here, we examined situations such as the McGurk effect, in which the way we perceive auditory information can be altered based on the type of visual cues we observe. From here, we explored to story of Daniel Kish, a blind man who uses human echolocation to navigate the world. We were impressed to find that people who use echolocation, such as Daniel, exhibit activity in the visual cortex in a manner that is very similar to sighted people. As it turns out, even without visual information, these individuals are able to see the world through echolocation. We then brought this discussion full-circle by examining how bats use echolocation to seek out moths for food, and how moths have intriguing methods of detecting and avoiding such echolocation methods