PY3MOB-Misperceptions of the Body

Module Provider: Psychology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Treshi-Marie Perera


Type of module:

Summary module description:

Although it may intuitively seem that we accurately perceive our body, numerous clinical conditions provide examples suggesting that the brain may hold distorted (or bizarre) perceptions of the body. Such experiences are referred to as misperceptions. In this module, students will be introduced to a variety of clinical and experimental conditions under which normal perception of the body could be distorted. The module consists of classroom lectures and critical discussions which enable students to evaluate relevant literature in the field


The module aims to introduce clinical conditions under which normal perception of the body is distorted followed by experimental paradigms that may act as tools useful in understanding how such misperceptions could be formed. Students will explore the mechanisms underlying the formation and maintenance of body misperceptions and assess the strengths and weaknesses of current theoretical models and experimental paradigms. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

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

•    Describe some of the clinical conditions displaying misperceptions of the body.

•    Critically evaluate theoretical models of somatic misperceptions including medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) and well known illusions such as the rubber hand illusion (RHI).

•    Discuss and evaluate the experimental paradigms employed in the field of somatic (mis)perceptions.

•    Consider the role of individual differences in experimental somatic misperceptions.


Additional outcomes:

•    Students will be introduced to data collection methods and analyses used within the field of cognitive neuroscience (e.g., signal detection theory).

•    Students will further develop their critical thinking and presentation skills through course-work and group activities.


Outline content:

The module consists of seven 2.5-hour seminars that include lectures and group discussions. Clinical misperceptions following acquired brain damage and MUS will be discussed after which experimental distortions will be introduced. Students will be introduced to both traditional and modern experimental paradigms/set-ups including virtual reality and mediated reality based experiments. Individual differences in responsiveness/susceptibility to these experiments will also be discussed thus providing insight into how such experimental paradigms could be of therapeutic/diagnostic value. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

In addition to lectures by the module convenor, students will be required to participate in discussions and give presentations, critically evaluating clinical models and experimental paradigms in the literature

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 17.5 2
Guided independent study 80.5
Total hours by term 98.00 2.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 75
Oral assessment and presentation 25

Summative assessment- Examinations:

1.5 hour written exam.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will sit for a 1.5 hour written exam (worth 75%) in which they answer 1 essay question) on areas covered in the module. Course-work (worth 25%) will comprise of an oral presentation in which students will be asked to critically evaluate a research paper relating to a topic covered over the module. 

Formative assessment methods:

Students also receive peer marks for all presentations, and have an opportunity to provide the module convenor with one exam essay plan. 

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Reassessment will have to be taken by re-examination during in August/September

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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