Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892



Biology: The Dynamic Science (Mind...

4th Edition
Peter J. Russell + 2 others
ISBN: 9781305389892
Textbook Problem

All sensory receptors send signals to the CNS in the same way. How are stimuli of different kinds perceived as being different?

Summary Introduction

To review:

The manner in which various stimuli are perceived as different in the central nervous system, as all sensory receptors send signals in a similar manner.


Sensory receptors are located in sense organs and are responsible for detecting stimulus. A stimulus is any change in the environment, be it chemical, physical, or mechanical. The stimulus is perceived by sensory organs and results in generation of receptor potential. The receptors send signals to the brain, which interprets the data and sends signals to motor organs that proceed accordingly. The brain, a part of central nervous system (CNS), is an important organ and all information is primarily passed to CNS, except for reflex actions.


Sensory organs generate membrane potential in response to a particular stimulus like visual stimulus, chemical stimulus, or mechanical stimulus. Sensory organs have sensory nerve fibers that remain in resting state until a stimulus is received by it. Resting membrane potential is a stage in which the sodium ion channels remain closed and the membrane has net positive charge on the outer surface and net negative charge on the inner surface.

Sense organs like eyes, receive visual stimulus in the form of photons. As soon as we see an object that scatters light, the membrane of sensory neurons opens sodium ion channels. These sodium ions rush inside neurons, making them momentarily positive. It leads to generation of membrane potential and a local current is synthesized. The current passes to the next region of neurons and conducts along its length till it reaches the brain in the central nervous system.

Sensory impulses are transferred in the form of action potential via afferent nerves...

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