Phantomlimb - Biological Psychology 1 PSYC 2012 The Lost...

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Biological Psychology 1 – PSYC - 2012 The Lost Limb Following the amputation of a limb, many experience sensation and even pain at the peripheral area where the limb used to reside. This suggests that the perception of our limbs is hard-wired into our brains and that they may become mapped into our brain networks as we develop. However, when a limb goes missing, the sensations that are experienced can range from the limb feeling like its still there, to severe pain. This phenomenon is even experienced in children born without a limb. The reason why this happens is not fully understood, but there are many theories as to why and how this happens. All sensations reaching the brain are plotted on what is called the homunculus or the “little man” inside the brain (Flor 2001). This map helps the brain process the different touch receptors of the peripheral nervous system. It is particular to the individual. The representation of the fingers of an infant can grossly differ from the finger representation of a concert pianist. In this way, phantom limb pain (PLP) can differ greatly from individual to individual based on limb usage. (Flor 2001). Other studies have found that PLP can be greatly influenced by both pre and post operative conditions to the affected limb, such as “the degree of pre amputation pain; the presence of noxious intraoperative inputs brought about by cutting skin, muscle, nerve, and bone; (and) acute postoperative pain” (Jensen et. al). These various stimuli may affect the degree of PLP individually or in combination, and will be discussed in greater detail. There are differing perspectives on exactly what is causing the severity of pain experienced by the individual. One factor examined is the amount of pain experienced
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by the patient before amputation.
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Phantomlimb - Biological Psychology 1 PSYC 2012 The Lost...

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