This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Sixth Sense: The Vomeronasal Organ Essay

2326 words - 9 pages

Sixth Sense: The Vomeronasal Organ

"We are all more influenced by smell than we know." (Hercule Poirot)
....Murder in Retrospect, Agatha Christie

Biologists have long realized that the noses of most vertebrates actually contain two sensory channels. The first is the familiar olfactory system, which humans possess. The second channel is the vomeronasal complex, a system that has its own separate organs, nerves, and connecting structures in the brain. The function of the vomeronasal system is the detection of pheromones, chemical messengers that carry information between individuals of the same species. It was widely believed (as I found in some of the older texts I examined) that humans had long ago discarded this sensory system somewhere along evolution's trail. But convincing behavioral and anatomical evidence has since brought the notion of a human vomeronasal organ (VNO) into the realm of scientific fact. Some thirty years ago, when anatomist David Berliner was studying human skin composition using scraped skin cells from the insides of discarded casts, he found that when he left vials containing skin extracts open, his lab assistants would become more friendly and warm than usual (1). When, months later, he decided to cover the vials, the warm and relaxed behavior was noticeably reduced. These findings led him to investigate the possible existence of odorless human pheromones and a "sixth sense" organ to detect their presence, a VNO.

While this early evidence was not empirical, anatomists have since found that all humans display two tiny pits, with duct openings, on both sides of the septum just behind the opening of the nose (3). The duct leads into a tubular lumen lacking a thick, distinct sensory epithelium. However, there are cells in the lining of the lumen that may be VNO receptor neurons. They appear to be bipolar neurons and respond to neuron specific stains (2). In a recent experiment, human VNO was reported to respond positively (by emitting electrical signals) to puffs of air laden with substances claimed to be human pheromones (2). If the experiment is valid, it presents strong evidence supporting the hypothesis that the human VNO is functioning, not vestigial. In some respects, however, the proof is lacking. The human VNO lacks the characteristic capsule and large blood vessels of other mammals' VNOs (2). The sensory epithelium, as mentioned earlier, is not well developed. In addition, connections between the presumed VNO receptor neurons and the brain have not yet been confirmed in humans. In other mammals, nerve impulses from the sensory cells of the vomeronasal organ enter brain structures known as the accessory olfactory bulbs and also project to brain structures that regulate sexual behavior and the secretion of gonadotropin, a pituitary hormone regulating the function of the testes (4). The accessory olfactory bulb, the normal termination of vomeronasal receptor-neuron axons (i.e. the doorway to the brain for...

Find Another Essay On Sixth Sense: The Vomeronasal Organ

The Suspense In The Sixth Sense

3521 words - 14 pages The Suspense In The Sixth Sense The Sixth Sense is a psychological thriller. It follows a very simple set of conventions that are associated with all psychological thrillers. The hero or anti-hero is always present in psychological thrillers and is there for the audience to relate to. Vulnerable characters are often depicted as small children. Children are seen as innocent and un-knowing, it is easy for the audience to

M Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense

1094 words - 4 pages M Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense For M Night Shyamalan's breakthrough, The Sixth Sense (1999), the twist ending worked well, adding another level to an already decent film. Repeated to good effect in Unbreakable (2000), the surprise ending became the director's signature. But with Signs (2002) it was losing its

The Presence of the Human Vomeronasal Organ (VNO) and Its Function

2476 words - 10 pages The presence of the human Vomeronasal Organ (VNO) and its function The vomeronasal organ (VNO), also known as Jacobson’s organ, is an auxiliary olfactory sense organ found in many animals. It is also the first stage of their accessory olfaction systems and is the sense organ involved in the Flehman response. In many mammalian species, a portion of the olfactory neuroepithelium is discretely organized into a VNO [1]. Animals use their

Imagery: Tapping Into The Readers Sixth Sense

838 words - 4 pages A skilled author possesses the almost mystical ability to awaken a mysterious hidden sixth sense of the reader. This sixth sense or mind’s eye provides written words the ability to rekindle vivid memories and virtually transport the reader to another place, time, or past experience. All these seemingly magical powers originate from imagery. It is through imagery that an author provides the symbolic hook necessary to achieve the reader’s desired

The Sixth Sense by Manoj Night Shyamalan

2276 words - 9 pages The Sixth Sense by Manoj Night Shyamalan Through close analysis of the restaurant scene and the scene where Dr Crowe is in the hose with both Cole and his mother, discuss the techniques used to make the audience believe that Dr Crowe is alive. The Sixth Sense made in 1999, a suspense drama thriller directed by Manoj Night Shyamalan. Dr Malcom Crowe (Bruce Willis) is a child psychologist, one night he and his

Comparison Between The Others and The Sixth Sense

1475 words - 6 pages Comparison Between The Others and The Sixth Sense The blockbuster movies 'The Sixth Sense' and 'The Others' are two of the best examples of supernatural thrillers you will ever see. Both storylines are gripping and compelling and there are many unsuspected twists and turns along the way. 'The Sixth Sense' and 'The Others' have comparable storylines because they are both based on the idea of a parallel universe in

Analysis of The Sixth Sense - Dr. Crow is Alive!

1964 words - 8 pages This essay will closely analyze the restaurant scene and the scene where Dr Crow is in the house with both Cole and his mother and discuss the techniques used to make the audience believe that Dr Crow is alive. The Sixth Sense is a thriller not to be missed. Set in Philadelphia, it sucks the viewers into a world of mystery and unrealism. The film reveals an unexpected twist at the end which is very unusual. The fact that Bruce Willis starred in

Review of the Screenplay The Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan

708 words - 3 pages of writing a highly visual story, that should contain only what an audience would be able to see and hear, using clear and concise writing, but still keeping the contents creative ( The Script Lab). Following the form set forth for screenplays, M. Night Shyamalan does an artful job with The Sixth Sense. The Sixth Sense is about two main characters: Dr. Malcolm Crowe a child psychologist and a disturbed young boy named Cole Sear. The simple yet

ESP - Extra Sensory Perception

2117 words - 8 pages of smell. We can't separate these senses just because they appear to involve different body parts! Perhaps, then, the ESP sense is a combination of various other senses, or of other senses and an unidentified sixth sense (which may or may not involve the vomeronasal organ). It seems that the interconnectedness of senses is such that a blind or deaf person might not experience ESP in the same way, and a person deprived of her ESP sense might not

pheromones

979 words - 4 pages (LH) and Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the anterior pituitary gland (Grammer et al, 2004). New research has looked towards the Vomeronasal organ (VNO), a region in the olfactory system whose main role is detecting pheromones (Grammer et al, 2004). Recent studies have stated that based on research in mammals that olfaction may lead to an even greater purpose in sexual reproduction for the selection of a mate (Bhutta, 2007). Uncertainty

Olfaction in Mammals

2379 words - 10 pages dominance, stimulation of estrus in the female, and finally, identification of the estrous stage of the female and stimulation of the male due to this stage. Historically, many research experiments have been conducted on mice that have led to the discovery of key components of the olfactory sense in mammals. One is these discoveries includes the cessation of mating attempts by both the laboratory mouse and hamster when their vomeronasal nerves have been

Similar Essays

The Sixth Sense Essay

960 words - 4 pages The Sixth Sense Many movies today do not have plots. They consist of computer-generated images, poor acting due to the non-realistic aspects of the movies, and relatively bad overall story lines. This is mostly due to the fact that the director is more concerned with the special effects. This can be seen in the movie Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace. Its story line was weak, and the acting was poor due to the fact that most of

Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense Essay

3645 words - 15 pages Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense 'With reference to two scenes from Shyamalan's 'The Sixth Sense' examine the way in which the audiences perception of the film changes having viewed its dramatic ending. Evaluate the importance of the two scenes in the film as a whole.' When the dramatic conclusion of Shyamalan's 'The Sixth Sense' has been viewed the audiences perception changes. They start to understand how different

Review Of The Sixth Sense

1497 words - 6 pages Review of The Sixth Sense The sixth sense tell the story of a troubled young boy named Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) and child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), and their own personal struggles in life. Malcolm is a deeply respected child psychologist, who once

The Sixth Sense Movie Review

1101 words - 5 pages When The Sixth Sense was released 14-years ago, we had already seen some major film releases at the time; Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace, Austin Powers the Spy Who Shagged Me and The Blair Witch Project; no matter what your opinion is on these amazing films, it’s still an experience you will never forget! Many of them were crowd splitting; you either love them or hate them. The Blair Witch Project and The Sixth Sense are both horrors, but are