Your Sensing Brain

Part of the Brain: The Inside Story exhibition.


AP Photo/Javier Galeano

Wherever you go, whatever you do, the world stirs your senses. It is there in the sparkle of fireworks, the flavor of watermelon, the crack of a baseball bat, and the scent of summer rain. Sensations like these may seem to come to you automatically. But you only perceive them thanks to an intricate chain reaction of signals inside your brain.

How it Works

Specific areas of the brain are devoted to seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. They communicate like the parts of an orchestra, so that your experience feels rich, seamless, and complete.

Here are two examples of how your senses work:


As you read this, your eyes are sending information to the part of your brain called the visual cortex. How does this area shape what you see?


Even when you're just standing around, your skin picks up information about your surroundings. How does your brain take it in?