Skip Navigation

BrainFacts.org

Introduction

From the jarring sound of a car horn to the enticing smell of a favorite meal, our senses help us navigate smoothly through day-to-day activities. Every sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch stems from a flurry of activity between brain cells. But what happens when the brain fails to process sensory information with ease? With recent advances in genetics and imaging technology, researchers hope to gain new insight into what goes wrong in disorders including eye disease, hearing loss, and persistent pain. Ongoing studies are helping researchers identify genes that underlie everything from inherited forms of deafness and eye disease to those that influence taste. Scientists are studying how to replace nerve cells that help process sight and sound in an effort to help the millions worldwide with sensory loss. Researchers are also using modern imaging tools to study perception of sensory information and how it becomes distorted in disorders such as persistent pain.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience

Through our senses, we experience the world. And for rodents, the facial whiskers play a crucial role.

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Studying these cells may help explain how some sightless individuals can still detect motion around them.
Source: TED
At any moment, there is an electrical storm coursing through your body. Discover how chemical reactions create an electric current that drives our responses to everything from hot pans to a mother’s caress.

Senses and Perception in the News

Source: WIRED
Date: 26 Aug 2014

At a recent event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists got together with filmmakers to discuss what both groups have learned.

Source: New York Times
Date: 4 Aug 2014
The habenula helps keep track of painful experiences and might be linked to motivation, a finding that could help in the treatment of depression.
Source: The New York Times Well Blog
Date: 21 July 2014
Although there is still no consensus beyond sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory, the research makes clear there is more to taste than a handful of sensations.