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A gravitational contribution to perceived body weight

Ferre, E.R. and Frett, T. and Haggard, P. and Longo, M.R. (2019) A gravitational contribution to perceived body weight. Scientific Reports, 9 (1), p. 11448. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-47663-x. ISSN 2045-2322.

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Official URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-47663-x


The weightlessness experienced by astronauts has fascinated scientists and the public. On earth, body weight is given by newton’s laws as mass times gravitational acceleration. That is, an object’s weight is determined by the pull of gravity on it. We hypothesised that perceived body weight is – like actual weight – dependent on the strength of gravity. If so, changes in the experienced strength of gravity should alter the experience of one’s own body weight. We asked participants to estimate the weight of two body parts, their hand or their head, both in normal terrestrial gravity (1 g) and during exposure to experimentally altered gravitational fields, 0 g and +1.8 g during parabolic flight and +1 g using a short arm human centrifuge. For both body parts, there was an increase in perceived weight during the experience of hypergravity, and a decrease during the experience of microgravity. Our results show that experimental alterations of gravity produce rapid changes in the perceived weight of specific individual body parts. Traditionally, research has focused on the social factors for weight perception, as in the putative role of mass media in eating disorders. Our results, in contrast, emphasize that the perception of body weight is highly malleable, and shaped by immediate sensory signals.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/133880/
Document Type:Article
Title:A gravitational contribution to perceived body weight
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Ferre, E.R.Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, UKUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Frett, T.german aerospace centre (dlr), institute of aerospace medicine, gravitational biology, cologne, germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-5572-1177UNSPECIFIED
Haggard, P.University College London, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, United KingdomUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Longo, M.R.Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UKhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-2450-4903UNSPECIFIED
Date:7 August 2019
Journal or Publication Title:Scientific Reports
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 11448
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Keywords:Gravity, Hypergravity, Perceived body weight
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Biowissenschaftliche Exp.-vorbereitung (old), R - Vorhaben Biowissenschaftliche Nutzerunterstützung (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Gravitational Biology
Deposited By: Duwe, Helmut
Deposited On:28 Jan 2020 11:13
Last Modified:30 Sep 2020 13:21

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