Seriously, if I see another homunculus again…

Last week, I had to study the homunculus for someone, and that involved looking at many images such as this:

Sensory and Motor Homunculi on display

Sensory and Motor Homunculi on display

From the Latin for “little man”, the cortical homunculus is a distorted human figure that serves as a visual representation of the cerebral cortex. The larger a body part, the more area of the cortex is devoted to that part.

There are two common types of homunculi: sensory and motor. The two are very similar. From the models, one can see that the sensory and motor cortices are mainly devoted to the face and hands. If you think about it, it makes sense: the most sensitive areas of your body have a large portion of the sensory cortex devoted to it, and the parts that need the most motor control have the largest portions of the motor cortex.

Here is another common representation, mapping out body parts to the area in the brain:

Sensory and motor cortex maps

Sensory and motor cortex maps

It’s fine if you see it once in a while, and it can even be a little humourous the first few times seeing it, but it can get quite creepy after prolonged exposure.

Someone should make a comic strip or some sort of parody featuring these characters.

But seriously, if I see another homunculus again…


Homunculus at C6-H12-O6
Cortical Homunculus at Wikipedia

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