Sensory Modalities

A sensory
modality is a way of sensing, like vision or hearing. Modality in
someone’s voice gives a sense of the person’s mood. In logic, modality has
to do with whether a proposition is necessary, possible, or impossible. In
general, amodality is a particular way in
which something exists.

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Stimulus modality,
also called sensory modality, is one aspect of a stimulus or what
we perceive after a stimulus. For example, the temperature modality is
registered after heat or cold stimulate a receptor. Some sensory
modalities include: light, sound, temperature, taste, pressure, and

General Senses:

1.  Somatic

a.  Touchb.  Pressure c. Temperature d. Proprioceptione.  Pain

2.  Visceral

                                                a.  Painb.  Pressure

Special Senses

a.  Smell or Olfactionb.  Taste or Gustationc.  Sight or Vision

          d.  Sound or Auditorye.  Balance or Equilibrium

of a sensory receptor
of the stimulus

of the stimulus into a graded potential

3.    Generation
of an impulse

of a graded potential into an action potential at a trigger zone and
propagation to CNS.

Integration of sensory input


                   Auditory learners learn best
through hearing, using their ears and their voices as the primary way to learn.
They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through
and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the
underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed
and other nuances. Written information may have little meaning until it is
heard. These learners often benefit from reading text aloud and using a tape


              Visual learners need to see the
material to learn most effectively. They need to see the teacher’s body language
and facial expression to fully understand the content of a lesson. They may
think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams,
illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and
hand-outs. During a lecture or classroom discussion, visual learners often
prefer to take detailed notes to absorb the information.


                      Kinesthetic learners are
those who learn best by doing. Kinesthetic persons learn best through a
hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They may
find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their
need for activity and exploration.


 A sensory nerve cell or sense
organ, as of smell, or taste, that are able to detect and respond to chemical
stimuli.               OR

A sensory receptor that detects chemical
stimuli in the environment and relay that information to the central nervous system.



A chemoreceptor, also known as chemosensor, is a specialized sensory receptor cell which transduces (responds to) a
chemical substance (endogenous or induced) and generates a biological signal.
This signal may be in the form of an action potential if the chemoreceptor is a neuron (nerve
cells or in form of neurotransmitter that activate nearby a nerve fibers ifchemosensor
is a specialized sensory receptor cell, such as taste receptor in taste budor in internal peripheral
chemoreceptor such as carotid body. In more general terms, a chemosensor detects
toxic or hazardous chemicals in the internal or external environment of the
human body and transmits that information to the central nervous system, and rarely the peripheral nervous
in order to expel the biologically active toxins from the blood, and prevent
further consumption of alcohol and/or other acutely toxic recreational


Examples of
distance chemoreceptors

Example 1

receptor neurons in the olfactory system.Olfaction involves the ability to
detect chemicals in the gaseous state. In vertebrates, the olfactory system
detects odors and pheromones in the nasal cavity.Within the olfactory system
there are two anatomically distinct organs. the main olfactory epithelium and the vomeronasal organ. It was initially thought
that MOE is responsible for detection of the odorants, while the VNO
detects pheromones. The current view, is that both systems
can detect odorants and pheromones. Olfaction in invertebrates differs from
olfaction in vertebrates.

For example, in insects, olfactory sensella are present
on their antennae.

Example 2

Taste buds in the gustatory system. The primary use of gustation  type of chemoreception is for detection of
taste ants. Aqueous chemical compounds come into contact with chemoreceptors in
a mouth, such a taste bud on tongue, and trigger the responses. These chemical
compounds can either trigger an appetitive response for nutrients, or a
defensive response against toxins depending on which receptors fire. Fish and
crustaceans, who are constantly in an aqueous environment, use their gustatory
system to identify certain chemicals in the mixture for the purpose of
localization and ingestion of food.

Example 3

                    Insects use the
contact chemoreception for the recognization of  certain chemicals such as cuticular
hydrocarbon and these  are specific chemicals
to host plants. Contact chemoreception is very commonly seen in insects but it
is also involved in mating behavior of some vertebrates. The contact
chemoreceptor is specific to one type of chemical.


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