Kinesthesia, Kinesthetic Perception

  • D. Ian McCloskey
Part of the Readings from the Encyclopedia of Neuroscience book series (REN)


The “sixth sense” was what Sir Charles Bell, late last century, named the sense of the positions and actions of the limbs. In its entirety, Bell’s sixth sense concerns perceived sensations about the static position or velocity of movement (whether imposed or voluntarily generated) of those parts of the body moved by skeletal muscles, together with perceived sensations about the forces generated during muscular contractions even when such contractions are isometric. The general descriptive terms used today for such sensations are kinesthetic (which despite its literal translation was coined by Bastian to describe this complex of sensations, including those in which movement is not a feature), and proprioceptive (which was used by Sherrington in a rather wider vein than here to include also vestibular sensations and inputs from muscles and joints that are not necessarily perceived, that is, sensations about which one might not be able to give a subjective report).


Joint Position Joint Rotation Muscular Force Distal Joint Proprioceptive Signal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Further reading

  1. Burgess PR, Wei JY, Clark FJ, Simon J (1982): Ann Rev Neurosci 5:171–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Hall LA, McCloskey DI (1983): Detections of movements imposed on finger, elbow and shoulder joints. J Physiol (Lond) 335:519–533Google Scholar
  3. McCloskey DI (1978): Kinesthetic sensibility. Physiol Rev 58:763–820Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Ian McCloskey

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