Visceral-Somatic Integration in Behavior Cognition, and “Psychosomatic” Disease

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This chapter focuses on certain aspects of modulation of somatic behavior by visceral events, and the integration of visceral and somatic activity within the organism. Adequate integration of these systems is essential to the organism's adaptation to physical and social factors in its external environment. The chapter analyzes some of the properties that emerge when the visceral and somatic systems operate in concert versus when they operate independently, and speculates on the implications for cognition and pathology. At a higher level of integration, multiple visceral and somatic systems act in concert, for example, when locomotor activity is coupled with cardiovascular and respiratory activity. The reflexive and central coordination of these systems is discussed and related to rhythmical activity of the brain. Following the discussion of visceral-somatic integration in terms of motor function, this integration is then considered in terms of sensory and cognitive function. Changes in sensory threshold and perceptual effects that occur in relation to visceral activity are reviewed. Finally, coordination of visceral and somatic activity is examined in symbolic expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-140
Number of pages34
JournalAdvances in the Study of Behavior
Issue numberC
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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