Sensory receptors can be categorized on the basis of structure or various functional criteria. Structurally, the sensory receptors may be the dendritic endings of sensory neurons. These dendritic
Chapter Ten endings may be free—such as those that respond to pain and temperature—or encapsulated within nonneural structures—such as those that respond to pressure (see fig. 10.4). The photoreceptors in the retina of the eyes (rods and cones) are highly specialized neurons that synapse with other neurons in the retina. In the case of taste buds and of hair cells in the inner ears, modified epithelial cells respond to an environmental stimulus and activate sensory neurons.
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