04 September 2022

Nociceptors are not pain receptors

From time to time, I see people say that some group of animals have nociceptirs or "pain receptors" amd then use to to say this prooves those animals feel pain.

There is a lot of subtle misuse of definitions going on there.

Nociceptors are neurons tuned to tissue damage. Pain is not tissue damage. The two are related but they are not the same.

Calling nociceptors “pain receptors” is like calling auditory sensory neurons “music receptors.” And then use that animals can hear to claim that animals appreciate music. Well, no. There is a difference between sensory neurons and a higher order perception or psychological state arising from those sensory signals.

2 comments:

Jim Bower said...

Very few people are equipped for wading through the appropriate level of detail and analogy to get closer to truth. Some of the ones who are equipped, do not care to wade.

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