Analysis of Cutaneous Sensation and Reflexes by examining Receptive Responses.

Essay by mfrazierUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2007

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IntroductionThe senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound are present in almost every situation collectively, and help humans function in the constant changing settings. However, these senses are specific enough to distinguish between multiple situations to relay different information that is relative to specific environments. These different inputs help adjust the body to maintain a state of homeostasis, which is an equilibrium point in the body.

When the body enters a new environment, it must alter its initial state to incorporate the new senses that the old environment may not have contained. This occurs daily from walking from a cold room to a warm room, waking up to bright sunlight, or hearing a sharp, painful noise. All of these examples deal with multiple receptors of the body receiving input in receptive fields. A receptive field is an area where a receptor is sensitive to a stimulus (Ramachandran 1993). A sensation is the response that a subject would feel from the stimulus.

A prolonged sensation can cause an adaptation in the body, such as the skin for changes in temperature (Benzinger 1959). Adaptation is a mechanism of the body to stop responding to a prolonged stimulus (Meyer et al. 2001).

Looking at the skin specifically, many receptors join to regulate the homeostasis of the body. Receptors for different degrees of pressure are throughout the skin. These receptors help with determining when contact with another object occurs. Like all receptors, they are more localized in certain areas of the skin, where more contact is common, than other more non-exposed areas. This allows the brain to differentiate between exactly what part of the body is in contact with an object. This proves to be very important with animals because this sensitivity to touch may be the difference from escaping from a predator...