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Tip of the tongue
Finger tips
Side of the tongue
Back of the hand
Top of the feet
Minimum distance between two points of simulation (mm)
Figure 3.21 Spatial discrimination
function. Considering the anatomical location (notion of space) of the mechanorecep-
tors and the nature of information that they transmit 6 , we can differentiate between
two different sensory levels:
Proprioceptive mechanoreceptors
Proprioceptive mechanoreceptors play a predominant role inmeasuring the movements
and tension in muscles, tendons and joints and are located at these levels (deep). The
activity of these mechanoreceptors comes under kinaesthesis. We notice the importance
of their contribution when objects are handled, because they provide information
about the position of the upper limbs as well as the intensity of the forces applied. In
his article Russell (1990) identifies four types of mechanoreceptors that contribute to
the kinaesthetic sense.
Exteroceptive mechanoreceptors
The skin's interaction with the outside world is manifested in thermal, mechanical,
texture, pressure and chemical variations (Pawluk & Howe, 1996). Peruchon (1979)
divides the exteroceptive control into two types of touch senses, each having its own
ascending channels and cortical projections:
Protopathic sensation: This is an imprecise and vague sensation relating to non-
discriminated, thermal and painful tactile impulses;
Epicritic sensation: This sensation leads to conscious, accurate and discriminative
perception of tactile impressions. It plays a primordial role in recognising shapes
by touch.
6 This is the first level of function.
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