Introduction to Somatosensation

Describe how somatosensation, the sense of touch, works

Somatosensation is a mixed sensory category and includes all sensation received from the skin and mucous membranes, as well from as the limbs and joints. Somatosensation is also known as tactile sense, or more familiarly, as the sense of touch. Somatosensation occurs all over the exterior of the body and at some interior locations as well. A variety of receptor types—embedded in the skin, mucous membranes, muscles, joints, internal organs, and cardiovascular system—play a role.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Describe four important mechanoreceptors in human skin
  • Describe the topographical distribution of somatosensory receptors
  • Describe how thermoreception, the detection of heat and cold, works
  • Explain why the perception of pain is subjective

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Somatosensory Receptors
  • Thermoreception and Pain
  • Self Check: Somatosensation