What are the four different types of general sensory receptors?

Updated July 20, 2017

Without sensory receptors in the human body, the race would eventually become extinct. A sensation from the outside environment is detected by one of the four receptors. That information is transmitted to the brain, and a reaction occurs. Through these receptors, we eat, love, avoid danger and move about. Sensory receptors bring information to the body and convert it to messages received by the brain where it is processed. The four sensory receptors enable us to survive and flourish in the environment.

Pain Receptors

Our pain receptors, or nociceptors, enable the human body to receive pain signals. Without the ability to perceive, locate and understand pain, we would have a difficult time reaching adulthood. We could neither feel, nor locate, environmental forces that cause us harm. Fire, broken bones, infections and wounds could not be felt and would not translate danger signals to our brain. Our survival, without the nociceptors, would be doubtful. These receptors are located all over the body, with the exception of the brain.

Temperature Receptors

Thermoreceptors detect temperatures. These receptors are located in the skin, hypothalamus gland and at the body core in certain organs. Without these temperature receptors, the human body cannot detect variations in temperature. Thermoreceptors enable the body to detect the danger of extreme heat and cold. The lack of these receptors can result in death by heat exhaustion or hypothermia

Touch Receptors

Touch receptors, or mechanoreceptors, are also located in the skin, as well as the inner ear and skeletal muscles. These govern touch, motion, the stretching of muscles, balance and sound. These receptors transmit the sense of touch and movement. They also affect our sense of balance and physical distortion. Mechanoreceptors are responsible for the pleasure of a kiss, as well as the misery of motion sickness.

Taste and Smell Receptors

Chemoreceptors are responsible for the detection of chemicals in our environment. From the ability to taste and enjoy a piece of candy to the pleasure of perfume, these receptors transmit the information. Sweet, salty and sour tastes are dependent on these receptors. Internal chemoreceptors have also been identified in the arteries. These arterial receptors detect gases dissolved in the bloodstream.

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About the Author

Ken Seagle began writing professionally in 1989 as a weekly columnist for "The Caldwell News" in Lenoir, N.C. He later produced ad copy for WBRM radio in Marion, N.C., and now contributes to several online publications.