Psychology 205 Perception

11 Feb 03
Day 07

                  Skin, Pain, & Phantom Limbs Primaries  ­­ pressure, pain von Frey hairs  Lateral inhibition
  temperature ­ warm & cold two­point thresholds receptive fields center­surround organization

Skin & its innervation, cortical maps Pain & its systems ­­ anecdotes


1. hormonal ­ endorphins, enkephalins morphine ­ before & after injury 2. cognitive/cultural couvade 3. neuronal    Gate Control Theory ­ Melzack

Primaries Initial research on  touch sensitivies pressure pain (a lot of pressure) Von Frey, the Von Frey hair,  and adaptations of it warmth & cold



consistency, and difference

primaries & secondaries:  blends hot ­ warm & cold ! wet ­ pressure & cold oily ­ weak pressure & warm hard ­ cold & even pressure soft ­ warm & uneven pressure evidence: not bad 1. mixtures of secondaries from primaries 2. physiological attunement (for pressure ­­> next) 3. cultural salience           (common language terms)

Survey of the skin:  1.5 to 3 square meters of it
1. epidermis papillary ridges  ­­ on glabrous skin 

(most sensitive, most researched) Merkel disks, sustained touch, small  2. corium (dermis)  Meissner's corpuscles, transient touch, rub Ruffini endings, sustained touch, skin stretch Pacinian corpuscles, transient touch, light 3. subcutaneous tissue (fat)

dermatomes vs. receptive fields Pain, algesia

Fingertip; glabrous



1 Me r Mei R 2


P glabrous skin


hairy skin

Me r Mei






2 3 4



from text

1 3

2 4



from Day 06

Two­point thresholds and their importance indirect measure of lateral inhibition direct indication of size of receptive fields



compass and 2-pt thresholds



center-surround organization

One of the basic  principles of receptor organization lateral inhibition





Braille resolution on fingertips



Central pathway spine medial lemniscus  thalamus somatosensory cortex

­­­> dermatomes 



~all skin enervated by two overlapping dermatomes

dorsal root entrance

dorsal roots; sensory nerves entering spine on  back side



site of decussatio n



Left hemisphere

cortical maps

Put next to one another areas that need to communicate (rapidly)



Result: topologica l maps





sensory humuncul   i


Insula , taste cortex  

The Pain Sense (algesia) is it separate from other touch qualities?                   YES is it separable from touch?        is cutaneous pain related to pain in other modalities?    



Pain and pain­related systems Systems: 1. hormonal ­  endorphins, enkephalins, 2. cognitive & cultural ­ 
morphine before (d’) and after injury (β) turning off pain  ­­ analgesia Shirley MacLean ­ deferring pain couvade ­ turning on pain

3. neuronal ­ receptors and gate control theory 
registering pain, turning it on and off


The Pain Sense (neuronal form)  ­­ Von Frey Hairs 
receptor:     free nerve endings (cornea)
Pain Pressure  Cold  Warm

back of knee chest forearm back of hand ball of thumb tip of nose

230 200    50         13       1 200    15           6       0.5 190    14           7       0.5   60      120   45   100       13       1

different distribution than pressure, warm, and cold sensitivities cold & warm in equal proportion    

The Pain Sense 

receptor:     free nerve endings (cornea)
function ­ with the histamine release in damaged tissue the tissue swells.  Swelling, pinching, and weight compress free nerve endings and trigger pain



different pathway than touch
sharp pain

touch decussation in brain stem

dull pain

pain decussation in spinal cord


The Pain Sense huge individual differences first pass: 
the world of pain tolerance divides into two groups:
1. Those woman who have experienced natural childbirth 2. The rest of us



Phantom limbs:

body schema                  Henry Head     (Stratton too) arm loss cortical take­over by facial area 
and other areas


mislocation of phantoms  pain "in" lost limb ­  Müller anomalous summation & delays counterirritation 

(stimulation­produced analgesia)





left side of body


right hemisphere of brain





cortical “takeover” immediate but only partial

pain "in" lost limb ­  Müller anomalous summation & delays counterirritation 
(stimulation­produced analgesia)



Gate Control Theory:       4 pathways, 3 fiber types Aß A∂ C 40 m/s      (~90 mph) fast   (L) 20 m/s slow (S)   3 m/s             very slow 



cognitive/situational suppression of pain 1&3 1


3&4 4 2




1. Fastest 2. Fast path     3. Slow 4. Slowest

excites sharp pain    spinothalamic path  excites dull pain    spinothalamic  inhibits pain increases pain  (inhibits the inhibiter)



1. excites sharp pain 3. inhibits pain

4. increases pain Likely responsible for phantom limb pain

2. excites dull pain

  rough rubbing increases activity in pathway 3, which excites activity in SG, which in turn inhibits pain (as antagonist to pathway 4)



                  Skin, Pain, & Phantom Limbs Primaries  ­­ pressure, pain von Frey hairs  Lateral inhibition
  temperature ­ warm & cold two­point thresholds receptive fields center­surround organization                    ­­>role of inhibition

Skin & its innervation, cortical maps  ­­> maps & organization Pain & its systems ­­ anecdotes ­­>multiple systems
1. hormonal ­ endorphins, enkephalins morphine ­ before & after injury 2. cognitive/cultural couvade 3. neuronal  Gate Control Theory ­ Melzack         ­­>role of inhibition  


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