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The sensory cortical representation of the human penis: revisiting somatotopy in the male homunculus.

Pioneering mapping studies of the human cortex have established the notion of somatotopy in sensory representation, which transpired into Penfield and Rasmussen's famous sensory homunculus diagram. However, regarding the primary cortical representation of the genitals, classical and modern findings appear to be at odds with the principle of somatotopy, often assigning it to the cortex on the mesial wall. Using functional neuroimaging, we established a mediolateral sequence of somatosensory foot, penis, and lower abdominal wall representation on the contralateral postcentral gyrus in primary sensory cortex and a bilateral secondary somatosensory representation in the parietal operculum.

Pubmed ID: 15976087


  • Kell CA
  • von Kriegstein K
  • Rösler A
  • Kleinschmidt A
  • Laufs H


The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Publication Data

June 22, 2005

Associated Grants


Mesh Terms

  • Adult
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Penis