• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Via 100 entries, 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook highlights the most important topics, issues, questions, and debates any student obtaining a degree in the field of psychology ought to have mastered for effectiveness in the 21st century. This two-volume reference resource, available both in print and online, provides an authoritative source to serve students’ research needs with more detailed information than encyclopedia entries but without the jargon, detail, or density found in a typical journal article or a research handbook chapter. Students will find chapters contained within these volumes useful as aids toward starting research for papers, presentations, or a senior thesis, assisting in deciding on areas for elective coursework or directions for graduate studies, or orienting themselves toward potential career directions in psychology.

Somatosensory Systems
Somatosensory systems

The somatosensory systems receive and process somatic, or bodily, information. Like all the other senses (vision, hearing, taste, and smell), the somatosensory systems reveal qualities of stimuli present in the external world (exteroceptive information). However, the somatosensory systems play an additional role, unique among their counterparts: They provide interoceptive information—data regarding internal conditions, such as core temperature and internal pain.

As this discussion implies, somatosensation involves the operation of several distinct systems. In this chapter, we discuss several of these systems, including touch, pain, proprioception (i.e., information about bodily position), and temperature regulation. As you read further, however, keep in mind that these systems, though distinct, interact with one another. Together, the various somatosensory systems offer a rich description regarding states of both ...

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