Friday, June 11, 2010

Final Post

General Overview:
I really enjoyed learning about perception or the conscious sensory experience. In this class we looked at a detailed perspective of how our senses work so we can perceive the world. We took an in depth look at the senses of sight, hearing, touch and taste can enable us to experience all of the wonderful experiences in life. We looked at various receptors that are responsible for the senses and take these experiences and convert them to action potentials which signal the brain to tell us what is happening in the world. We looked at different types of technology such as PET scans and MRI that can show what parts of the brains are active during certain types of perception. It was also very interesting to see the certain areas of the brain that were responsible for these senses and to see how they interact with each other.
I also liked the blogs, there were certain areas that I liked but it was interesting to see what other people thought was interesting to them. I really liked looking at the different pictures which were illusions and played with what you thought you were looking at or perceiving.
Favorite Part:
My favorite part of the class was the section on pain perception. I am in the Physical Therapy Program here at Stockton and in the future I will be dealing with patients that are in considerable pain, and it was helpful for me to learn about how the perception of pain can be influenced by more than just stimulation of the skin. One of the key elements that I looked at was concept of Gate Control Model which is basically different types of excititory or inhibitor stimuli that can either increase or decrease the sensation of pain. It was interesting to learn how attention, expectation, hypnosis, mental state, and emotional distraction can all have key factors in the intensity of pain.

Another key element in pain perception is the link between certain types of chemicals can decrease the sensation of pain. It has been known for some time that opioids have been known to decrease pain, but we did not understand the direct reason why this was. In the 1970’s we found that the brain can release certain neurotransmitters that would lessen the pain response. Further research has showed that endorphins have a very similar confirmation as the opioids and are naturally produced by the body; I found this research interesting because the body releases endorphins during exercise and I will be able to use this to help my patients.

Outside of class I have a new understanding of how our senses work. I never knew that when I was looking at stuff that my fovea was directly looking at certain items and that the gaze was not as broad as I thought. I also wonder if my superior colliculis is working when I am not paying attention to certain things. In addition, I do not look at colors the same either, now when I look at certain things I wonder if they are the same color or shade, or if the surrounding colors are effecting my perception, I don’t think I’ll ever look at things the same as I did in the past.

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