The importance of sensory acuity and sensory thresholds in human postural control PhD

Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
Entry requirements:
3 years
5 years
Reference number:
Start date:
UK/EU fees:
International fees:
Application deadline:
29 January 2019



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Project detail

The control of movement and posture requires the detection of the environment through various sensory receptors throughout the body. The minimum intensity of a stimulus that is required to produce an action potential from a sensory receptor dictates the sensory threshold, below which movement goes undetected. Sensory saturation refers to the maximum intensity of a stimulus that produces a response from a sensory receptor, above which further changes in movement cannot be determined. In addition, the non-linear nature of these systems results in small errors in the actual movement stimulating the sensory receptor and the movement perceived from the transmitted signals. Collectively, the vast array of sensory receptors, of varying types, creates an overdetermined system that enhance the dynamic range of the sensory system, increasing the range of intensities that can be detected as movement. However, this overdetermined system can also result in sensory conflict, leading to further errors in movement detection.

Aims: 1) determine sensory thresholds for specific joints and movements, 2) examine the significance that sensory thresholds, sensory acuity, and sensory conflict has on human postural control.

The proposed project could use a combination of EMG, kinematic (motion capture) and kinetic (force plates) data collection in conjunction with a Motek CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation ENvironment) system and dynamometry to administer external perturbations and/or generate sensory conflicts. Experimental results will be examined to predict sensory errors to determine sensory thresholds and sensory acuity, which can subsequently be entered into a postural control simulation model to replicate human balance.


Primary supervisor: Dr Glen Blenkinsop

Secondary supervisor: Dr Michael Hiley

Find out more

For further project details email Dr Glen Blenkinsop or register your interest and ask us a question.

To find out more about the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences please visit our website.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Sport Science, Human Biology, Engineering, or other related areas.

A relevant Master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Biomechanics, Motor Control, Human Biology, Engineering, or other related areas.

All students must also meet the minimum English Language requirements.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name select Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Please quote reference number: SSEHS/GB/1