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sensation and perception ch 14

Terms

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Pacinian corpuscle
A receptor with a distinctive elliptical shape associated with RA2 mechanoreceptors. It transmits pressure to the nerve fiber inside it only at the beginning or end of a pressure stimulus, and is responsible for our perception of vibration and fine textures that are perceived when moving the fingers over a surface.
Rapidly adapting fiber (RA fiber)
A mechanoreceptive fiber that adapts rapidly to continuous stimulation of the skin. Rapidly adapting fibers are associated with Meissner corpuscle and Pacinian corpuscle receptors.
Passive touch
A situation in which a person passively receives tactile stimulation that is presented by someone else.
Cutaneous sensations
Sensations based on the stimulation of receptors in the skin.
Epidermis
The outer layers of the skin, including a layer of dead skin cells.
Spatial cue
In tactile perception, information about the texture of a surface that is determined by the size, shape, and distribution of surface elements, such as bumps and grooves.
Ruffini cylinder
A receptor structure in the skin associated with slowly adapting fibers. It has been proposed that the Ruffini cylinder is involved in perceiving "stretching."
Proprioception
The sensing of the position of the limbs.
Medial lemniscal pathway
A pathway in the spinal cord that transmits signals from the skin toward the thalamus.
Affective (or emotional) component of pain
The emotional experience associated with pain—for example, pain described as torturing, annoying, frightful, or sickening. See also Sensory component of pain.
Placebo
A substance that a person believes will relieve symptoms such as pain but that contains no chemicals that actually act on these symptoms.
Exploratory procedures (EPs)
People's movements of their hands and fingers while they are identifying three-dimensional objects by touch.
Pain matrix
The network of structures in the brain that are responsible for pain perception.
Haptic perception
The perception of three-dimensional objects by touch.
Meissner corpuscle
A receptor in the skin, associated with RA 1 mechanoreceptors. It has been proposed that the Meissner corpuscle is important for perceiving tactile slip and for controlling the force needed to grip objects.
Somatosensory receiving area (S1)
An area in the parietal lobe of the cortex that receives inputs from the skin and the viscera that are associated with somatic senses such as touch, temperature, and pain. See also Secondary somatosensory receiving area.
SA2 fiber
This fiber responds to an extremely rapid vibration like that created by machinery. Associated with the Pacinian corpuscle.
SA1 fiber
This fiber responds to skin stimuli with fine details, such as grooved textures. Associated with the Merkel receptor.
Endorphin
Chemical that is naturally produced in the brain and that causes analgesia.
Large-diameter fiber (L-fiber)
According to gate-control model, activity in L-fibers closes the gate control mechanism and therefore decreases the perception of pain.
RA1 fiber
This fiber responds to slowly changing stimuli on the skin and is also involved in controlling hand-grasp that helps hold and manipulate tools. This fiber is associated with the Meissner receptor.
Neural plasticity
The capacity of the nervous system to change in response to experience. Examples are how early visual experience can change the orientation selectivity of neurons in the visual cortex and how tactile experience can change the sizes of areas in the cortex that represent different parts of the body. See also Experience-dependent plasticity; Selective rearing.
Nociceptor
A fiber that responds to stimuli that are damaging to the skin.
Inflammatory pain
Caused by damage to tissues and inflammations to joints or by tumor cells, this damage releases chemicals that create an "inflammatory soup" that activates nociceptors.
Small-diameter fiber (S-fiber)
According to gate control theory, activity in S-fibers opens the gate control mechanism and therefore increases the perception of pain.
Mechanoreceptor
Receptor that responds to mechanical stimulation of the skin, such as pressure, stretching, and vibration.
Stimulation-produced analgesia (SPA)
Brain stimulation that eliminates or strongly decreases the perception of pain.
Opioid
A chemical, such as opium, heroin, and other molecules with related structures that reduce pain and induce feelings of euphoria.
Two-point threshold
The smallest separation between two points on the skin that is perceived as two points; a measure of acuity on the skin. See also Grating acuity.
Duplex theory of texture perception
The idea that texture perception is determined by both spatial and temporal cues that are detected by two types of receptors. Originally proposed by David Katz and named the "duplex theory" by Hollins.
Homunculus
Latin for "little man," refers to the topographic the map of the body in the somatosensory cortex.
Neuropathic pain
Pain caused by lesions or other damage to the nervous system.
Active touch
Touch in which the observer plays an active role in touching and exploring an object, usually with his or her hands.
Dermis
The inner layer of skin that contains nerve endings and receptors.
Grating acuity
The narrowest spacing of a grooved surface on the skin for which orientation can be accurately judged; a measure of acuity on the skin. See also Two-point threshold.
Temporal cue
In tactile perception, information about the texture of a surface that is determined by the rate of vibrations that occur as we move our fingers across the surface.
Naloxone
A substance that inhibits the activity of opiates. It is hypothesized that naloxone also inhibits the activity of endorphins and therefore can have an effect on pain perception.
Focal dystonia
A condition in which a person loses the ability to make skilled hand movements.
Sensory component of pain
Pain perception described with terms such as throbbing, prickly, hot, or dull. See also Affective (or emotional) component of pain.
Spinothalamic pathway
One of the nerve pathways in the spinal cord that conducts nerve impulses from the skin to the somatosensory area of the thalamus.
Somatosensory system
The system that includes the cutaneous senses (senses involving the skin), proprioception (the sense of position of the limbs), and kinesthesis (sense of movement of the limbs).
Secondary somatosensory cortex (S2)
The area in the parietal lobe next to the primary somatosensory area (S1) that processes neural signals related to touch, temperature, and pain.
Tactile actuity
The smallest details that can be detected on the skin.
Ventrolateral nucleus
Nucleus in the thalamus that receives signals from the cutaneous system.
Nociceptive pain
This type of pain, which serves as a warning of impending damage to the skin, is caused by activation of receptors in the skin called nociceptors.
Gate-control model
Melzack and Wall's idea that our perception of pain is controlled by a neural circuit that takes into account the relative amount of activity in large (L) fibers and small (S) fibers. This model has been used to explain how pain can be influenced by factors in addition to stimulation of receptors in the skin.
Merkel receptor
A disk-shaped receptor in the skin associated with slowly adapting fibers, and the perception of fine details.
Slowly adapting fiber (SA fiber)
A mechanoreceptive fiber in the skin that adapts slowly to continuous stimulation of the skin. Slowly adapting fibers are associated with Merkel receptors and Ruffini cylinders.
Multimodal nature of pain
The fact that the experience of pain has both sensory and emotional components.
Substantia gelatinosa
A nucleus in the spinal cord that, according to the gate-control model, receives inputs from S-fibers and L-fibers and sends inhibition to the T-cell.
Kinesthesis
The sense that enables us to feel the motions and positions of the limbs and body.
RA2 fiber
This fiber responds to rapid vibrations and fine textures. Associated with the Pacinian corpuscle.

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