Temperature, Perception of
The ability to “perceive” temperature can be defined in two very different ways. In the more conventional definition, it is the conscious ability to appreciate the thermal energy of substances that come into direct contact with the skin such as air, water, or the pavement beneath one’s feet. However, the body also has the ability to appreciate and respond to internal fluctuations in temperature on an unconscious level that is even more critical to survival.
Although the literature is not consistent on this point, it is believed that free nerve endings in the skin likely serve as the primary receptors for conscious perception, with other types of specialized receptors serving as secondary temperature receptors. The latter are thought to include Krause’s end bulbs and Ruffini’s corpuscles for cold and heat, respectively. At the extreme ranges of temperature, for example, that which is sufficient to either burn or freeze the skin, separate pain...
References and Readings
- Thibodeau, G. A., & Patton, K. T. (2003). Anatomy and physiology (5th ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.Google Scholar
- Warren, S., Capra, N. F., & Yezierski, R. P. (1996). The somatosensory system II: Nondiscriminative touch, temperature and nocioception. In D. E. Haines (Ed.), Fundamental neuroscience (pp. 237–254). New York: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar