The Other Senses

Critical Thinking Question

Many people experience nausea while traveling in a car, plane, or boat. How might you explain this as a function of sensory interaction?


When traveling by car, we often have visual information that suggests that we are in motion while our vestibular sense indicates that we’re not moving (assuming we’re traveling at a relatively constant speed). Normally, these two sensory modalities provide congruent information, but the discrepancy might lead to confusion and nausea. The converse would be true when traveling by plane or boat.

If you heard someone say that they would do anything not to feel the pain associated with significant injury, how would you respond given what you’ve just read?


Pain serves important functions that are critical to our survival. As noxious as pain stimuli may be, the experiences of individuals who suffer from congenital insensitivity to pain makes the consequences of a lack of pain all too apparent.

Do you think women experience pain differently than men? Why do you think this is?


Research has shown that women and men do differ in their experience of and tolerance for pain: Women tend to handle pain better than men. Perhaps this is due to women’s labor and childbirth experience. Men tend to be stoic about their pain and do not seek help. Research also shows that gender differences in pain tolerance can vary across cultures.