Terrestrial weightlessness: Biases in the perception of the physical weight of body parts

Matthew Longo (primary)
Department of Psychological Sciences
Birkbeck, University of London
Elisa Ferrè (secondary)
Department of Psychology
Royal Holloway, University of London / Birkbeck, University of London


Despite the central role of perceiving body weight in serious conditions including obesity and eating disorders, little research has investigated the mechanisms underlying the everyday experience of body weight. Given that weight is a consequence of gravity, we hypothesize that the vestibular apparatus, a system specialized for sensing gravity, is central to the perception of body weight. This project uses methods from perceptual psychophysics, physiology, and space research to investigate the perceived weight of body parts and how it is shaped by vestibular signals. This research has important implications for understanding disease and may suggest new approaches for treatment.


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Animal disease, health and welfare
Area of Biology
Techniques & Approaches
EngineeringMathematics / StatisticsMicroscopy / ElectrophysiologySimulation / Modelling