Thursday, January 25, 2007

Chapter 5 - Somesthesia - Peripheral Mechanisms (The Nervous System In Action, Michael D. Mann, Ph.D.)


The broadest definition of somesthesia is the awareness of having a body and the ability to sense the contact it has with its surroundings. Our concerns at this point are about the receptors that serve to make us conscious of our bodies. Receptors are generally put into two broad classes: the exteroceptors, that sense stimuli from outside the body and signal what is happening in the outside world, and the enteroceptors, that receive stimuli from inside the body and tell us what is happening in the inside world. The broad class of exteroceptors includes, in addition to receptors in the skin, receptors for light in the eye, sound in the ear, and for chemical substances in the nasal mucosa and tongue. These specialized receptors are discussed in future chapters; for now, we will concentrate on the skin.

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