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Since the beginning of his career, Raymond Cattell searched for a comprehensive theory of human behavior through the use of multi-factor analysis. He regarded behavior as primarily organic in nature because of his British psychological training, which stressed biological influences on behavior.
Perception of tastes, odors and chemical irritants begins with the activation of sensory cells in the mouth, nose, and on the skin. These receptor cells have specialized features that make them sensitive to particular chemicals. Chemosensory stimulation triggers the cascade of molecular and cellular events that translate or "transduce" information about the stimulus into a signal for the nervous system. The encoded information is then transmitted to appropriate brain areas to initiate and maintain the sensory experience.
The chemical senses are most fully engaged when we eat and drink because the flavors of foods and beverages are a combination of taste, smell and, depending on cuisine, chemosensory irritation. One's choice of foods, which is a crucial determinant of nutritional status, is guided largely by flavor. However, the nutritional impact of flavor goes beyond the choice of food. Activation of the chemical senses by food triggers reflexes that influence digestion and metabolism of nutrients. Changes in body metabolism, in turn, modulate responses to the flavor of food and, along with chemosensory cues, shape food preferences.
Sensory capabilities are influenced by many factors, including genetics, age, sex, individual experiences, and current surroundings. These affect the ability to detect, recognize, perceive and respond to our chemosensory environment.
The sense of smell is part of our chemical sensing system, or the chemosenses. Sensory cells in our nose, mouth, and throat have a role in helping us interpret smells, as well as taste flavors. Microscopic molecules released by the substances around us (foods, flowers, etc.) stimulate these sensory cells. Once the cells detect the molecules they send messages to our brains, where we identify the smell.
The pharmacological activation of brain reward systems is largely responsible for producing a drug's potent addictive properties. Personality, social, and genetic factors may also be important, but the drug's effects on the central nervous system (CNS) remain the primary determinants of drug addiction.
Terms used in classical conditioning and their definitions.
The term brain lateralization refers to the fact that the two halves of the human brain are not exactly alike. Each hemisphere has functional specializations: some function whose neural mechanisms are localized primarily in one half of the brain.
Research and articles on the three best-known human senses: vision, hearing and smelling. Learn how humans see, how we hear and how we smell. From the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
The smell, or olfactory system can distinguish thousands of odors. Scientists have identified a large gene family that they believe codes for odor binding sites, or receptors, in the olfactory lining of the nose.
Evidence shows that the sense of taste is more complex than previously believed. One set of findings suggests that humans inherit different levels of tasting ability. These levels may influence food preferences and, in turn, health status.