7 May 2009

Neural Adaptation [Desensitization] in Marieb & Hoehn, Human Anatomy & Physiology

by Corry Shores
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Marieb & Hoehn

Human Anatomy & Physiology

Information about the stimulus -- its strength, duration, and pattern -- is encoded in the frequency of nerve impulses (the greater the frequency, the stronger the stimulus). Many but not all sensory receptors exhibit adaptation, a change in sensitivity (and nerve impulse generation) in the presence of a constant stimulus. For example, when you step into bright sunlight from a darkened room, your eyes are initially dazzled, but your photoreceptors rapidly adapt, allowing you to see both bright areas and dark areas in the scene. (495, emphasis mine)

Marieb, Elaine N., & Katja Hoehn. Human Anatomy & Physiology. London: Pearson, 2007.

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