Identify and briefly explain each of the 5 senses.

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dcbiostat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The five main senses are taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch. Each sense if briefly explained below.

Taste and Smell

Our mouth and nose work together in order to provide us with the sensation of taste. In fact, the episode Taste and Smell by Newton’s Apple, states that “seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. Taste buds allow us to perceive only bitter, salty, sweet, and sour flavors.”

It is the odor molecules from the foods that reach our noses that give us most of our taste sensation.  When food is placed in our mouth, these odor molecules enter the passageway that is found between your nose and mouth. The odor molecules eventually reach the olfactory receptors that is located behind the bridge of your nose at the top of your nasal cavity that lies under the olfactory bulbs of the brain.  The olfactory bulb of the brain is the region of the vertebrae forebrain that allows them to perceive different smells.


Sight is produced by our eyes. Light shines through the lens of our eyes that focuses the light onto the retina on the back of the eyeball. Two types of cells, called rods and cones, are found on the retina. Cones allow us to see colors. Rods aid in peripheral vision. Information gathered by our eyes is then sent to the optic nerve to be processed.


Our ears allow us to hear and distinguish sounds. Sounds are made by longitudinal waves that are produced by the vibrations between particles.

The outer ear funnels these sound waves into the ear via the ear cannel.

Eventually, the sound waves travel to the cochlea of the inner ear. The cochlea translates the vibrations into sounds and sends this information to the auditory nerve. The auditory nerve travels to the brain so that the meaning of the sounds can be interpreted.


The nerve endings that are found all over the body provide us with the sense of touch. These nerve cells, also known as neurons, relay message back to the brain. There, the information is interpreted as either cold, heat, pain, or contact.

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