Performance 7 min read

Sensory Cortex Function – How You Feel What You Feel

by Stefan Mitrovic December 17, 2018

Your 5 senses and all you feel through them is thanks to your sensory cortex function.

The human brain is one of the most mysterious parts of the human body. Despite the fact that today we know more about the brain than ever, there is still so much more to be explored.

In this article, we’ll explain what the main sensory cortex function ishow it works, and why it’s so important to us.

What Is The Role Of The Sensory Cortex?


The sensory cortex is part of the somatosensory system. It is, among other things, in charge of receiving and processing sensory signals from the body. In simple language, it allows us to use our five senses, to see, feel, smell, hear, and taste.

We learn faster when more than one of our senses is included in the process.

—Jim Kwik, the Author of Mindavalley’s Superbrain Program

This is precisely why the sensory cortex is so important. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to process any of the information we receive from our senses.

somatosensory cortex function

Where Is The Sensory Cortex Located And What Does It Do?


The sensory cortex has several different components. It’s located in the cerebral cortex, which is a gray jelly-like substance that surrounds our brain. The cerebral cortex is tasked with processing signals and sending feedback to our body.

It all starts within the primary sensory cortex. The primary sensory cortex function is to receive basic signals from the body.

Depending on the type of signal, different parts of the sensory cortex processes the information. Auditory information is sent to the primary auditory cortex. Visual signals are sent to the primary visual cortex.

sensory cortex function

What Would Happen If The Sensory Cortex Got Damaged?


Every action we take comes from the brain. The heart helps pump blood, the lungs help pump oxygen, but the brain is both hardware and software of our body.

Damage to the brain can result in a number of unique symptoms. Depending on the brain hemisphere affected, there are different types of consequences, from problems with movement to auditory and visual hallucinations.

One example is Balint’s Syndrome, which impacts motor skills and eyesight. The symptoms of this syndrome make it difficult for the patient to move and they may also experience difficulties with vision.

Another dangerous disorder is SPD, or sensory processing disorder. Individuals with this disorder are unable to feel pain signals. It may sound ideal — who really wants to be in pain? But this can be very dangerous.

Why? Because pain is the body’s alarm mechanism. What this means is, without your ability to sense or process pain, your body may undergo harm or damage without you even realizing it!

somatosensory cortex function

What Is The Function Of The Cortex In The Brain?


The cortex is the biggest part of the brain. It relates to the senses and more complex brain activities, such as maintaining the sensory cortex function.

The cortex consists of four segments, called lobes. The four lobes of the brain include:

  1. The frontal lobe, which enables us to speak, reason, and feel.
  2. The parietal lobe, which is in charge of memory and basic motor skills, like the ability to move and orient yourself.
  3. The occipital lobe, which is responsible for your sense of vision. It allows us to process the signals coming from our environment and make a clear picture of them in our mind’s eye.
  4. The temporal lobe, which is responsible for our sense of hearing and speaking.

The pillar of the cortex is the neocortex, which is in charge of emphasizing higher thinking activities, like processing complex ideas.

Why Is The Sensory Cortex Important?

The sensory cortex helps us stay connected to the world around us. It helps us translate our physical environment and react to what’s happening. Without this “translation tool”, we wouldn’t be able to feel.

Stop and think for a moment: what would happen if you wouldn’t be able to feel the pain?

Imagine suffering from the broken bone but not being able to sense the pain. It sounds cool but in reality, it really isn’t. Pain is the alarm system alerting us that something should be treated.

We need this system to survive.

The main takeaway when it comes to your sensory cortex function is that every action has its own path and eventually converges in the brain to give us the complete picture.

We can imagine our brain as a highway with separate tracks for each type of signal. The signals come from the different parts of the body, but they all converge in the brain. Then the brain processes them and sends them back to their point of origin.

So, the next time you experience the strength of a friend’s embrace, the spice of a delicious meal, or the warmth of being wrapped in a blanket on a cool evening, stop to appreciate the function of the sensory cortex in your brain.

It’s truly magnificent.


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What is your favorite taste, scent, or sound that the sensory cortex is responsible for? Share with us in the comments below.

by Stefan Mitrovic
"Nula dies sine linea" is what best describes Stefan. A constant seeker for new ideas with interest in what makes a better thinker and how to be a better parent. Trivia master and adventurer at heart, he is a true space cadet.

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