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Body Perception: Neurons to Experience

University of Warwick

Department of Psychology 2019/20

Module Code:


Module Name:

Body Perception: Neurons to Experience

Module Credits (CATS):


Module Convener

James Tresilian

Module Teachers

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to help students develop an understanding and an ability to think critically about how we sense, perceive and experience the body and its relationship to the environment. The module will introduce behavioural phenomena, illusory percepts, subjective experiences and neural mechanisms associated with proprioception, interoception, and spatial orientation perception. The neurophysiological basis of bodily perception will be discussed in detail, what illusory percepts can tell us about body perception will be discussed, and the multimodal nature of body perception will be explicated. Practical applications of body perception and sensation in health and movement control will be emphasized.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the functional anatomy and neurophysiology of the somatosensory, kinesthetic and vestibular systems
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how sensory receptors transduce proximal stimulation into neural signals and how the central nervous system uses these signals to obtain information about the body
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the regions of the central nervous system involved in body perception and how neurological damage can affect behaviour and experience
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how sensory signals from the body can affect behaviour, produce perceptual experience, evoke ‘feelings’, and influence our senses of wellness/illness, fatigue and effort
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how multiple sensory modalities and non-sensory sources of information contribute to body perception and experience
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how non-veridical (illusory) body percepts can affect experience and behaviour and the consequences for performance in real-world situations

Assessed by:

Assessed work: self-test question sets (5%), Assessed work: short answer assignment (25%) & One two-hour unseen examination (70%)

Module Work Load

Module Length

12 weeks


One 2 hour and one 1 hour (total 3 hours) lectures per week



Attendance at lectures is compulsory

Module Assessment

Assessed work: self-test question sets


Assessed work: short answer assignment


Exam: One two-hour unseen examination


Module Reading List

The following 5 textbooks will be useful for the module:

1. Tresilian, J.R. (2012) Sensorimotor Control & Learning. London: Palgrave Macmillan

2. Wolfe, J.M. et al. (2012/2015). Sensation & Perception (3rd/4th Edition). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates

An alternative to 2 is

3. Goldstein, E.B. (2010) Sensation & Perception (8th Edition). Wadsworth.

1 will be useful for weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9, 10.

2 and 3 will be useful for weeks 1, 4, 5, 9 and 10.

The following textbook will be useful for weeks 6, 7 and 8:

4. Craig, A. D. (2014) How do you feel? An Interoceptive Moment with your Neurobiological Self. Princeton University Press.

Another useful text that emphasizes the neuroscience content and could be useful for most of the module is

5. Kandel, E.R. et al. (2012) Principles of Neural Science (5th Edition). McGraw-Hill Medical. (Make sure it’s the 5th edition as earlier editions are rather dated.)

Details of recommended and additional readings for each week can be found on the module webpages which will provide many additional resources.