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The perception of body width and circumference of the self

Research output: Contribution to conference - Without ISBN/ISSN Poster

Publication date8/01/2020
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventExperimental Psychology Society (EPS) London meeting - University College London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 8/01/202010/01/2020


ConferenceExperimental Psychology Society (EPS) London meeting
CountryUnited Kingdom


Recent research in body perception has negated the assumption that we could accurately perceived our bodily proportions. However, it is unclear whether these distortions are specific to the perception of body length or whether they generalise to the perception of other bodily dimensions. We assessed in a sample of healthy adults the perception of body width and circumference. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four groups where they were asked to estimate the width or circumference of their own body parts, using either body parts and non-body objects as measuring unit. To our surprise, the patterns of width and circumference misperception across different body parts did not resemble those of a somatosensory homunculus. In stark contrast to the drastic misperception of body length found in previous studies, the misperceptions of body width and circumference were of very small magnitude. Perhaps the reason for this is that body length is specified by the bifurcation of optic flow in the visual array, hence it is unnecessary to have an accurate representation because information constantly present optically. However, body width and circumference not optically specified and hence, we need to have a somewhat accurate representation to navigate our environment.