Sounds, colors, smells, and other phenomena of consciousness are a product of the interaction of neurons, but they themselves are not composed of neurons; what then are they in themselves?

Sounds, colors, smells, and other phenomena of consciousness are a product of the interaction of neurons, but they themselves are not composed of neurons; what then are they in themselves?

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answers (4)

Answer 1
July, 2021

There are actually two questions here. First: "What physical carriers are perceived by the senses?" However, the physical carriers and processes themselves are neither light, nor sound, nor smell - these concepts are already related to their perception by a living being. Hence the second question: "How is the subjective perception of smell, sound, etc. formed?" Physicists answer the first question, neurophysiologists answer the second.

Any sensory sensor (sensory organ) reacts to a certain stimulus by generating electromagnetic impulses, which then circulate in the nervous system, are processed and analyzed by it. And only at the end of this process they become smell, light, sound, taste, tactile sensation.

Answer 2
July, 2021

If I understand correctly, the question is how neurons store information. This is a complex and still unsolved problem, but presumably the memory mechanism is based on the fact that the composition of the intracellular substance changes in a group of neurons.

Answer 3
July, 2021

Let me add about smell: smell is an indicator of the presence of molecules in the inhaled air that have a particular spatial structure (corresponding to the receptors in our nose).

Roughly the same can be said about taste, only receptors on the tongue detect molecules of characteristic structure dissolved in saliva.

Answer 4
July, 2021

In this context, "sound" or "color" is an interpretation. Moreover, as a first approximation, they are one and the same - oscillations. Only in the first case the environment in which we are (air, water) vibrates, and in the second, these are electromagnetic vibrations. And the spectrum of these vibrations (both the first and the second) is very wide - much wider than the ranges to which our senses are "tuned".

With the sound, everything is very clear: a loud sound vibrates the eardrum more than a quiet one ; a high sound shakes it more often than a low one. These vibrations are amplified and transmitted to the brain, which tells us (to itself?): "Oh, this is a sound, it is like this." Sound recording works exactly according to the same principle - a special device - a microphone - converts mechanical vibrations of the membrane into an electrical signal, which is already easy to record and store.

The story is about the same with light and smells. Each light, each smell so excites receptors that each time specific information arrives in the brain, which can already be interpreted on the basis of our experience: "Oh, this is a strawberry, it is red, it smells like a strawberry." This is how a camera works, for example, so there is nothing supernatural here either. Detectors of the presence, concentration and type of substance in the environment have also existed for a long time.

Why so many letters? And here's what. It cannot be said that light or sound is a product of the interaction of neurons. These are quite real physical phenomena that can be recorded in other ways. And neurons are only a tool for delivering a signal, storing it, comparing it with other accumulated samples (this is exactly how it is checked every time with a huge database, albeit instantly) and, consequently, analysis. A complex, often incomprehensible, but a tool.

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