Re: Somatosensory Homunculus

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Tue Jun 04 1996 - 14:58:55 BST

> From: "Stalder, Kathryn" <>
> Date: Fri, 24 May 1996 10:36:42 GMT
> The somatosensory homunculus is similar to the retinotopic map and the
> motor homunculus. It is distinct from the mentalistic homunculus which
> causes problems when used as an explanation for cognitive processes.
> Homunculus means 'little man' and the somatosensory homunculus is a
> representation of the body's sensory surface (skin), shaped
> approximately like a little man ie. body shape. Retinotopic mapping and
> the somatosensory homunculus have been used to demonstrate that analog
> processing occurs in the brain. The mental map of the sensory surfaces
> of the body is an analog shadow which has been translated and
> transformed and exists in the brain. The projection occurs onto
> specific brain areas and a map is formed. It has been shown that analog
> images can be manipulated without the need for the mentalistic
> homunculus or 'little man in the head'. It follows that mental imagery
> can be regarded as a valid explanation of some cogntive processes
> (Kosslyn). By symbol manipulation it is possible to imitate images and
> manipulate analog images. Symbol manipulation and analog processing are
> essentially mindless. The somatosensory homunculus is an example of
> such mindless processing.

Good reply, and themes are there, but for an A you need to go into them
more deeply. (The answer need be THAT short...) Also, are you clear on
receptive feels and just what these point-to-point projections are

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