Sensory Homunculus

Sensory homunculus: "This model shows what a man's body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its sensory perception."

Motor homunculus: "This model shows what a man's body would look like if each part grew in proportion to the area of the cortex of the brain concerned with its movement."

"Sensory Homunculus" would not be a bad band name.


31 Responses:

  1. jwm says:


    I'm reminded of the story on The Work of Director Michel Gondry where he's describing these nightmares he had as a child about having huge, unwieldy hands, which subsequently turned up in the video for "Everlong" by The Foo Fighters.

    The models certainly look like something that would turn up in his music videos...


  2. teko says:

    I've seen those sensory homunculi in science museums, too, and wondered if they're being honest about the relative size of genitals, or if they're just avoiding scaring the children with a humongous penis flopped on the floor.

    • endquote says:

      I wondered the same thing... but you put it more tastefully than I would've.

      Fascinating stuff though. I wonder where Jamie finds this crap.

      • The mapping represents amount of sensory cortex, which I think translates to resolution better than intensity. The penis/clit has lots of nerves, but I don't think either one has very good spatial resolution.

        • gutbloom says:

          I'm waiting for the mapping that represents the amount of time spent thinking about the different body parts. I'm not sure about you, but my elbow would be pretty small.

    • taffer says:

      Shouldn't the tip of the penis be larger than the rest of it?

      • boldra says:

        Isn't it? Or are you assuming he's circumcised? I think it would be pretty odd choice if he is!

        Anyway, I think the discrimination between parts and sub-parts is fairly limited. His fingers are big, but the front of his fingers is just as big as the back. His fingernails are surprisingly large.

        I made a printable version of this for my fridge if anyone's interested.

        I'm wondering if you turned him around would you see his anus sticking out from between his bum-cheeks?

  3. juleske says:

    How come they don't have female sensory humonculi?
    Those sensory humunculi males will get so lonely..

  4. alfons says:

    the highly recommended "Phantoms In The Brain"

    • If you want an interesting theory of why people have phantom limb syndrome, why you can trick yourself into mapping your own feelings onto inanimate objects, why blind people have a much more refined sense of hearing based visualization (hey, spare neocortex not used for optic nerves, neat!), etc. then I recommend this:
      On Intelligence

  5. Frankly, I'm surprised the wang isn't bigger.

  6. autodidactic says:

    "Hello, ladies!"

  7. torapines says:

    Anyone else think Sensory Homunculus looks a little like Steven Tyler with a shaved head?

  8. robcallahan says:

    This is a new fetish porn subculture just waiting to happen.

  9. lx says:

    Pubo is a comicbook dealing with an individual genetically modified to reflect a similar spacial relativity (though it's characterized as size relative to nerve endings, not the brain area itself, though I guess that these might be analogous).

  10. for the past ten fucking years, i've been staring at this lil' guy in my textbooks.....

    and thinking the same thing: "lips and fingers, lips and fingers.....WHEN will you guys ever LEARN?"

  11. ... there *is* a band named "Einstein's Little Homunculus". Plays in the Northeast. Very eclectic, influenced by Irish folk and God knows what else -- fun to hear.

  12. ebess says:

    My boyfriend wrote a comic book about this very thing:

    It's pretty badass.

  13. You have the COOLEST posts! I am now a groupie.

  14. ex_sonjaaa says:

    I'm curious why his glans is not so much bigger?