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Figure 3.24 Kinaesthetic canals (as per Guyton, 1984)
organs in the muscles act as receptors. The receptors in the joints respond to variations
in the stretch and are thus sensitive to relative movement between two body parts. The
brain analyses the data coming from all the proprioceptive receptors with the sensory
data sent by the skin, eyes and the internal ear. This is how the brain understands the
body's position and its movements.
Sensitivity to the forces exerted on the muscles gives an overall information about
the forces of contact between the person and an object (Figure 3.24).
The perception of the vertical direction is very important to understand the spatial
body schema and thus to be able to assess the world surrounding us. There are three
systems for perceiving the vertical (visual, vestibular and egocentric). Depending on
the individual, one of the three is predominant. However, it is possible to change this
system through vicariousness. In some cases, the difference in information provided
by these systems can lead to discomforts such as “simulator sickness'', where the
movement of images does not coordinate with a movement of the body. Sometimes,
one of the systems overpowers the others, as for example shown by the sensation of
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