Experiments and Adaption Essay Sample

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This paper is explaining five experiments; the process and results. It talks about sensory adaptation and how adaptation is evident in each of the experimental results. It also provides a comprehensive description of the sensory systems in the experiments that I performed.

Before starting the four experiments, I had to remember that I had to keep in mind that there are five major senses that our bodies use; taste, smell, seeing and hearing. I also felt that it was extremely important to get a general understanding of what sensory adaptation means. Sensory adaptation is the process by which senses become less responsive to particular stimuli. Therefore, to activate the receptors a stronger stimulus is required and individual’s body receptors will to one type of stimulus at a time (Hersh, 2011). In my first experiment, I rubbed my index finger gently over a piece of very coarse sandpaper a few times and then rated its coarseness. Then I waited a few minutes and rubbed the same finger over the paper and rated the coarseness again. On a scale from 1 to 7, 1 being very soft and 7 being very course, I would have to say that it went from a 7 to a 3. In this particular experiment, I use the sense of touch with sensory adaptation. As I rubbed my finger over the sandpaper the first time, my finger felt the coarseness and my brain received the signal that it was.

The second time I rubbed my finger over the sandpaper, my receptors had already adapted to the stimulus and the coarseness was less than before. In experiment 2, I filled two cups up with water, one with sugar and other with fresh water. First, I took a sip of the sugar water and swished it around in my mouth for about 60 seconds and then spit it out. Then I took a sip of the fresh water, I would have to say that the taste of the fresh water totally surprised me. It was cold and refreshing, as if I drank the sugar water first. The reason it tasted cold and refreshing is because my mouth, the receptors are used to four types of tastes. They are sweet, sour, bitter and salty. So, when I tasted the sweet water first, my brain had already received the signal of sweetness to the somatosensory cortex in the forebrain. The receptors were not ready to detect a new taste so it delayed it. In experiment 3, I had to take 15 index cards and place them over a beam of light. Then I slowly removed all of them except 3 to try to see some light. Next, I open and closed my eyes to adjust the light and the light seemed a whole lot brighter. After about 15 minutes, I repeated the process again to see if I was able to detect a brighter light and it was.

This experiment used the sensory adaptation of vision and my cornea detected light. My eye lens had a hard time focusing and adapting to the light. There are two photoreceptors; rods and cones and they are responsible for sending the information through the optic nerve to the nervous system. The third experiment I filled three bowls up with water; hot, cold and lukewarm. Then I placed the hot water in front of the my right hand, the cold water in front of my left hand and then the lukewarm water in between the two. Next, I put both of my hands in the bowls of water that was in front of each hand for 3 minutes. After the three minutes had passed, I place my hands in the water that was lukewarm.

As soon as I placed my hands in the lukewarm water, I immediately felt the difference in the temperature of the water. My left hand that was in the hot water felt cold in the lukewarm and my right hand that was in the cold water felt hot in the lukewarm water. The reason for this is my hands sensory receptors have already adapted to the hot and cold temperatures of the bowls. However, when I placed them together in the lukewarm water, the receptors was still sensing the hot and cold water. My hand receptors then felt a different temperature in the lukewarm water because the receptors was compensating for the temperature for water that my hands previous left (Cherry, 2012). In conclusion, the receptors that were used in all 4 experiments were taste, touch and vision and it was based on the five senses that we use every day.


Hersh, T. (2011). The Law of Psychological Adaptation. Retrieved from http://www.psychological-observations.com Cherry, K.(2012). What is
Adaptation? Retrieved from http://www.psychology.about.com

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