Sensing Your Own Body

What's the term used to describe sensing the movement of your own body?

And the answer: kinesthesia.

The perception of the movement of one's own body, and its limbs and muscles, is known as kinesthesia. In educational settings, kinesthetic learning involves students participating in physical activities while learning, in order to process new and difficult material.

Through your sense of kinesthesis, you can tell where different parts of your body are located even if your eyes are closed or you are standing in a dark room. Receptors in your arms and legs send information to your brain about the position and movement of your limbs, a tool that comes in handy when your body is walking, running, or moving through a space in any other way. These receptors allow us to take inventory of our bodies and keep each limb out of trouble. While our five primary senses account for external stimuli (vision, smell, touch, taste, and hearing), kinesthesia looks inward to aid navigation and location within space.

Kinesthesia can also be an effective learning tool for those who need physical engagement to understand an activity. In the 1920s, a group of psychologists developed a system of learning called the "VAK Learning Styles Model" to classify the most common ways people learn. According to the model, most humans prefer to learn in one of three ways: visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Visual learners are able to retain information most effectively in the form of charts or diagrams, while auditory learners respond best to voice or spoken instruction. Kinesthetic learners prefer a physical experience and appeal to a more hands-on approach. In practice, most people mix and match any combination of these styles.

What style of presentation do you prefer? Are you an auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learner (or any combination of three)? Take this quiz to learn more about the way you learn.

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