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Sharon E. Guttman & Stephen F. Davis

In: 21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook

Chapter 26: Somatosensory Systems

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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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