PSYC 212 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Taste Bud, Ventral Posteromedial Nucleus, Olfactory Receptor Neuron

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Gustatory system: detects tastes through chemicals dissolving in saliva. Chemosensory systems provide survival value to individual organisms. They can affect our emotional state and alter our behavior: general characteristics of chemosensory perception. Life began in sea simplest organisms responded to chemical stimuli hard to distinguish those systems between taste/smell. One distinction: whether mechanism detected chemicals from nearby (taste) vs faraway source (airborne chemicals) Evolution continued as terrestrial life emerged (air as medium = divergence of smell/taste increased) Taste and smell food-seeking & sampling system. Marking territories, interact with other species, signal sexual receptiveness. Humans rely much less on chemosensory stimulation (we are highly visual creatures; some argue taste/smell no longer crucial to our survival) But sense of smell is still significant: ex: human babies can detect odor of mom"s breasts, ex: menstrual synchrony among women in dormitory (odors produce behavioral effect) Sense of taste relegated to enhancing eating experience. Still provides survival role: rejecting foods that are poisonous.

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