Sample Biology Paper on Body and Brain Function

  1. How do we experience taste?

To our brain, taste is usually the fusion of food’s smell, taste and tough into an individualized sensation. In other words, taste is a combination of sensation qualities that take place during sipping or chewing. Flavour is the most precise term for what is referred as taste. Therefore, smell is not only integral part of but an influence of flavour. Pure taste sensation includes sour, sweet, salty, fat and savoury. Taste buds, which are usually located on the roof of mouth and tongue, are activated and that what is perceived as flavour. Concurrently, whatever you are sipping or eating invariably activates and contacts sensory cells (Biswal et al., 2018). They allow for perceiving of qualities such as spiciness, temperature or creaminess. The act of touch is perceived as tasting since it captures sensation of flavour.

Smells also comes from the mouth despite there not being the cells that responsible for scent detection. For example, strawberry sensation depends on the smell cell activation – it is found on the nasal passage. Olfactory referral is the processes that relay the information collected by the smell cells to the mouth. This phenomenon can be demonstrated by holding your nose and placing a strawberry jelly on your nose and chew. You would probably detect a little sourness and sweetness along with a candy feeling (Biswal et al., 2018). Retronasal olfaction is the process of receiving information relating to scents on the back of your mouth. If the information is acquired through nostrils the process is known as orthonasal olfaction.

  1. How does our sense of smell work

Olfactory sensory neurons are the sensory cells responsible for smell. They are located on the small patches of tissues inside your nose. The cells are directly connected to the brain. Each of the olfactory neurons have odour receptors. The microscopic molecules released by pine tree or coffee brewing, for instance, stimulate the olfactory neuron receptors. Once the molecules are detected by the neurons, a message is sent directly to your brain, and thus identifying the smell. There are few receptors than there are receptors. A combination of receptors can be stimulated by the molecules, which creates a specific in the brain. Your brain registers these sensations as a specified smell. There are two key pathways that smell can reach the sensory olfactory neuron. Your nostril is the first pathway (Biswal et al., 2018). The other pathway is the channel connecting the throat roof to the nostrils. Chewing meal bolus releases aroma accessing the sensory olfactory neurons through the second pathway – if these channels are blocked like when your nostril is stuffed up by flu or cold, odours cannot reach the sensory cells useful for smell stimulation. As a result, you lose the ability of enjoying your meal flavour. In this way, your sense of taste or smell works in collaboration. The sensory olfactory neurons are responsible for flavours such as oranges or chocolate. Without smell, meals cannot have flavour and would even taste bland. The common chemical sense is what influences the sense of smell. The sense of smell is comprised of hundreds of nerve endings, particularly on the surface of the nose, eyes, throat and mouth.

  1. How do our senses monitor our body’s position and movement?

Although hearing and vision are the most critical senses, human sensation is defended on other four, which provide fundamental channel for better responding to and understanding the world around us. These other senses are taste, touch and smell and human sense of body movement and position. Together with sense of taste, smell helps up assess potential danger, and maintain our appetite. For instance, the sense of taste and smell helps us assess the dangers of burning house and gas leak. They also help us avoid eating spoiled or poisonous meal (Biswal et al., 2018).

Touching is a sense useful to human development. For instance, children thrive when they are attended to and cuddled. However, they physical growth can be affected if they are deprived of human touch. Touch is what communicates caring, warmth and support. It is important part of enjoyment gained from human interactions. The largest body organ, skin is considered as the sensory organ of touch. It contains combination of nerve endings essential for responding to special types of temperature and pressure. For instance, when you touch specific parts of your body you can feel a ticklish sensation – other areas respond to cold, pain or heat. The thousands of never endings of the skin respond to four essential sensations – hot, pain, pressure, and cold. For instance, ticklish experience is caused by stimulation of pressure receptors. The heat experience is caused by stimulation of cold and hot receptors. The itching experience is stimulated by pain receptors (Biswal et al., 2018). The wetness experience is caused by the repeating stimulation of pressure and cold receptors. The skin is critically important for providing information about temperature and touch and proprioception, which is the ability of sensing the movement and position of human body parts. Proprioception is achieved by special neurons located in the joints, ears, skin, bones and tendons. Without receiving feedback from our muscles and bones, it would be impossible to walk, play sports or stand.

  1. What did the Gestalt psychologist’s contribute to our understanding of how the brain organizes sensation into perception?

Gestalt psychologist theorized that the brain establishes a perception that is sum of the sensory inputs – this is accomplished in a predetermined approach. Gestalt translates these predictable ways into precepts by which we can organize and categorize sensory information. Eventually, gestalt psychological theory has been highly influential in the areas of perception and sensation. The theorist’s perspective in psychology depicts investigation into stimulations of determining how and where these ambiguities can be solved in your mind. In other words, his perspective aims at understanding perception and sensory as information processing as wholes or groups instead of constructing wholes from small parts. His perspective has received wide support from the cognitive science. FMRI research shows that some brain parts specifically the occipital lateral lobe and the gyrus fusiform are involved in the processing of individual stimuli elements (Biswal et al., 2018). Figure-ground relationship is one of the key Gestalt principles, which stipulates that we segment our visualized world into ground and figure. In this case, figure is the person or object that is centre of visual field, while background is the ground.

  1. How to the principles of figure-ground and apparent movement contribute to our perception of form? Discuss how the role of proximity , similarity, continuity, connectedness and enclosure impact

Ground-figure perception refers to the visual system tendency to simplify scenes into major object of centre focus at everything else and the figure that forms the ground or background. The concept of ground-figure perception is usually illustrated with the classic vases and faces illusions, also referred to as the Rubin vase. When looking visual scenes, we usually look for viable ways of differentiating between the ground and the figure (Biswal et al., 2018). This can be accomplished this includes:

Blurriness – foreground objects can be distinctive and crisp, while the background ones are hazy or blurry.

Contrast – the high contrast of different objects can lead to the perceptibility of the ground and figure. An example of this is the Rubin vase.

Size – images that are seemed relatively large are closely perceived and parts of figures, with those small seemed further away and part of ground.

Isolation – an object separated from everything from visual scenes as a background and figure.

The law of proximity, similarity, continuity, connectedness and enclosure deal with how our brains and eyes connect with image designs. This connection is important to our perception. Brian builds connection between disparate element designs based on visual perception laws (Biswal et al., 2018). This is influenced by the manner in which design elements are laid. The applying laws are those of uniform connectedness, proximity and continuation. For instance, the proximity law describes how visual element connections are perceived by human eye. On the other hand, the law of unified connectedness posits that the closely connected elements that use frames, colours, shapes and frames are perceived as one unified unit in comparison with other elements. This effect works effectively even when it contravenes other principles of similarity and proximity.

  1. How do we see the work in three dimensions?

Our brain is wired to visualize world in three dimensions. Your brain creates a sensation of a three space dimension by combining many cues and clues. These include the difference between stereo (eye) vision as well as relative motions and positions. The brain can be easily fooled by creating artificial cue – 3D Television and movies fool your brain by giving 2D imaging to the eyes. Visual cliff is an apparatus research that was established by psychologist Gibson Eleanor and Walk Richard at the Cornell University. The study was conducted as a way of investigating the depth perception in animal and human species. The visual cliff enabled the researchers to carry out an experiment in which the tactile and optical stimuli associating with simulated cliff that were adjusted to protect the subject from incurring injuries. The cliff comprise of the Plexiglas sheet that covered a cloth with checkerboard patterns (Biswal et al., 2018). Walk and Gibson studied possible perceptual differentiation at crawling ages between preterm and human infants both during the time with no documented motor or visual impairments.

Binocular cues – offer in-depth information when you are viewing scenes with your both eyes. Binocular (retinal) or stereopsis disparity or parallax binocular – animals with their eyes frontally place utilize information derived from various object projections onto to one another to judge depth (Biswal et al., 2018). We rely under the assumption that with the movement of objects, the shrinking objects tend to enlarge and retreat objects are approaching. A quick image succession on the retina creates an illusionary movement, as in the phi phenomenon or the stroboscopic movement.

  1. How does perceptual constancy help up to organize our sensations into meaningful perception? Include a discussion of how perceptual constancy helps explain several well-known visual illusions, such as the Moon and the Ames Room illusions.

The perceptual constancy is what enables us to make perception of objects as stabilized despite the image changing they are casting our retinas. Colour constancy is human ability to perceiving consistent objects’ colour in various objects, despite that wavelengths and lighting shift (Biswal et al., 2018). Lightness or brightness constancy is human ability to make perception of objects and view them as having lightness constant. Your brain is constructing your experience of objects’ brightness or colour through making comparison with the surrounding phenomenon.

Shape constancy is human ability to perceiving objects we are familiar with (as opening door) as changing in shapes. Size constancy is the process of perceiving surrounding objects as unchanging in their size despite the retinal changing images. Understanding the size of an object gives you a clue in consideration of its distance (Raichle, 2014). Knowing the size of an object gives you a clue to understanding its distance. However, it is possible to misread and miscalculate the monocular cue distance and thus making a misguided conclusion, as in the illusion of moon.

  1. What does research on sensory restriction and restored vision reveal about the effects of experience on perception?

Experience is what guide human interpretation of perception. For instance, people who are naturally born blind and end up gaining sight following a successful surgery are unable to visually recognize forms, shapes and complete faces. A research on sensory restriction shows that there is a critical time for some perceptual and sensory development. Without being stimulated, your brain’s organizing neurons cannot develop normally (Raichle, 2014). You can experience adaptation perception if you are given glasses that slightly shift the world to right or left or upside down. The experience can be disorienting but with time, you are able of adapting to new context.

  1. How adaptable is our ability to perceive the world around us? Discuss the biological components involved in vision and the brain’s ability to adapt to body movement.

Human vision is extraordinarily adaptable. If the world around us changed right/left/reversed/upside down, people will still adapt the new movement and get used to it. The human system is comprised of sensory eye organ and the central nervous system. The retina contains the optic nerve, photoreceptor cell, the visual cortex and optic tract. The retina cell is what gives human and animal species the sense of sight, which is the ability of processing and detecting visible light (Raichle, 2014). The visual system interprets and detects information form optical perceptible spectrum, and thus enabling the representation building of your surrounding environment. The visual system conducts a number of complicated tasks, including the formation of neural monocular and light reception., the neural mechanisms that underlies stereopsis and colour vision, and distance assessment between and to objects, and identification of motion perception and objects of interest. It also  involves in the integration and analysis of visual information, accurate motor coordination, pattern recognition under visual guide (Hornykiewicz, 2016). Visual perception is the process of visual neuropsychological information. The motor system of the brain is found in the frontal lobes (Hornykiewicz, 2016). The premotor area is responsible for coordinating and planning complex movements. It is in the primary motor cortex where final outputs are sent to the spinal cord – causing movement of and contraction of muscles. The primary motor cortex is located on the left side of your brain and its function is to control movement of your body (Raichle, 2014). Various areas of the motor cortex are interconnectedness and control the movement of various parts of your body, to form a form of body mapping referred to as homunculus.

  1. Describe the following, which are related physiological mechanisms that are involved in determining experiential aspects of pain perception: gate-control model, opiates and pain: the physiology of the placebo effect

Gate control modal – it is a theory of pain that posits that non-painful inputs close the nerve cells to painful experience. This helps to prevent the sensation of pain from reaching the central nervous system. The gate control model indicates how sensations of non-pain can reduce and override painful sensations (Hornykiewicz, 2016). A nociceptive, painful stimulus triggers afferent fibres traveling to the brain through transmission cells. Increase of pain is stimulated by the increased activities of the transmission cells.

Opiates and pain – although they can be effective for relieving pain, opioids are highly risky and can lead to addiction. When the opioids are used to control the chronic pain the addiction risk can be high (Hornykiewicz, 2016). The physiology of the placebo effect – placebo effect is described as phenomena in which some individuals experience benefit after administrating inactive treatment or substance. This placebo or substance has no known health effect. Placebo is a body-brain response to contextual information instead encourages distress, pain and disease.



Hornykiewicz, O. (2016). Dopamine (3-hydroxytyramine) and brain function. Pharmacological reviews, 18(2), 925-964.

Raichle, M. E. (2014). Two views of brain function. Trends in cognitive sciences, 14(4), 180-190.

Biswal, B. B., Mennes, M., Zuo, X. N., Gohel, S., Kelly, C., Smith, S. M., … & Dogonowski, A. M. (2018). Toward discovery science of human brain function. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(10), 4734-4739.

Tucker, D. M. (1981). Lateral brain function, emotion, and conceptualization. Psychological bulletin, 89(1), 19.

Rolls, E. T., Treves, A., & Rolls, E. T. (2018). Neural networks and brain function (Vol. 572). Oxford: Oxford university press.