Saturday, May 07, 2011

One’s Own Perception

From “Ratmechanics,” by Katy Bowman:

We humans may not whisk, but we do have a very similar system in our body. It’s called the proprioceptive system.

Proprioception means “one’s own perception.” No, it’s not like your opinion or anything like that, but it is the ability for one part of your body to know where it is relative to the other parts. Unlike the rat, who is using the deformation of its whiskers to create an image of what is external (similar to a dolphin using sonar to “see” shapes in front of it as it is swimming), we use our proprioceptive system to create an image of what is internal, or inside the skin. Propriception works in the same way as the whiskers though. The deformation of the joints and muscles sends information to the receptors (proprioceptors) within the moving muscles and their joints. That information about a change in skeletal position then travels via our neurons to the brain to create an image.

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[Thanks, Kit!]