The perception of body width and circumference of the self

Lin, Lisa and Linkenauger, Sally (2020) The perception of body width and circumference of the self. In: Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) London meeting, 2020-01-082020-01-10, University College London.

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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.

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Poster)
Journal or Publication Title:
Experimental Psychology Society (EPS) London meeting
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Deposited On:
03 Feb 2020 09:55
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 14:43