somatosensory homunculus

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A standard depiction of the primary somatosensory cortex of each cerebral hemisphere as a human figure lying supine along the postcentral gyrus immediately behind the central sulcus with its toes deep in the longitudinal fissure towards the midline of the brain (see illustration). Each part of the figure represents the area of the somatosensory cortex receiving sensations from the corresponding (contralateral) part of the body, and it has disproportionately large hands, lips, and tongue, which gives it a grotesque appearance. The best known version was developed by the US-born Canadian neurosurgeons Wilder Graves Penfield (1891–1976) and the US neurologist Theodore B(rown) Rasmussen (1910–2002) and published in their book The Cerebral Cortex of Man in 1950. Also called a sensory homunculus. See also homunculus. [From Latin homunculus a little man, diminutive of homo a man]

Somatosensory homunculus. A version adapted from Penfield and Rasmussen's The Cerebral Cortex of Man (1950).

Subjects: Psychology.

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