Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972000 | Print ISBN: 9781412940818 | Online ISBN: 9781412972000| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Roger W. Cholewiak & Steven A. Cholewiak
The skin, far from being just a passive wrapping for the body, provides a wealth of capabilities that combine to allow for extraordinarily complex patterns of perceptual experience. Although cutaneous perception might be taken for granted by most persons, for individuals with visual or auditory disabilities, their impression of the world can depend heavily on their senses of touch. Cutaneous perception results from combinations of responses from skin receptors, evoked by mechanical and thermal stimuli, and, occasionally, chemical and painful events. Historically, there has been some question about the structures and mechanisms that mediate these percepts, partially because it is so difficult to isolate the suspect components, and because some sites (such as the cornea of the eye) are sensitive to touch, temperature, and pain, yet do not possess specialized structures. Nevertheless, converging data from anatomy, physiology, and experiments using “psychological dissection” have led to strong contemporary models of underlying ...