Functional Characterization Of The Sensory System Essay

Functional Characterization Of The Sensory System Essay

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The general research area is the sensory and vibrissal system in rodents. This study focuses on understanding the functional characterization of the sensory system through the notion of specificity. By definition, specificity is a measure of the ability of the sensory system to distinguish or discriminate between distinct stimuli (Lucianna, F. A., Farfán, F. D., Pizá, G. A., Albarracín, A. L., & Felice, C. J. 2016). In this case the stimuli are textural. This measure of specificity permits the evaluation of the capability of the sensory system to decode information along with sensitivity. In this particular research, the questions focused on the analysis and the establishment of a functional neuronal responses specificity of the peripheral vibrissal system. These questions are particularly important because that will allow neuroscientists to understand the source of neuronal responses. Indeed, there is a close relationship between neural information and behavior. Plus, understanding how neurons and systems function from the peripheral nervous system to the central nervous system will help consolidate inferences (limitations and capabilities) and strengthen the neural and behavior relationship (Lucianna et al. 2016). Vibrissae are a significant organ (specialized hair) for rats since they used them to sense their environment. The vibrissae have mechanoreceptors on their follicles for accurate somatosensory input. Rats move their vibrissae along different surfaces and depending on the roughness of the surface different signals will be transmitted (Diamond ME, 2010).
According to previous studies, specific patterns in the vibrissal primary afferents already exist and have been identified; therefore, these patterns provide informatio...

... middle of paper ...

...falls short of challenging the perceptual capabilities of the vibrissal system.
According to the results, few vibrissal sweeps are sufficient for a high classification performance and therefore that the peripheral vibrissal system reveals high specificity. Such specificity allows the neuronal responses to distinguish between surfaces of the similar roughness but different textures. Also, the specificity of the vibrissal system permits the binary classifier to discriminate between surfaces with 5 sweeps at most. Other works in the field are consistent with the findings of this study but at another level of explanation: behavior (Carvell and Simons 1990). In the Carvell’s study, the animals were tested to discriminate between two different structures (smooth and rough). Both the neuronal and behavioral levels are complimentary for a holistic approach in neuroethology.

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