The University of Southampton

AUDI1010 Basic Physics and its Applications to Neurosensory Science

Module Overview

This module is interested in how the body responds to sensory stimulation, particularly from the point of view of healthcare science professionals who use those responses to assess for neurosensory disorders. The module will provide you with an understanding of the properties of signals used to stimulate sensory systems, the signals generated by the body in response and how all those signals can be used in clinical assessment. This will include a foundation in physics, biology and psychology; no assumptions are made about your background in these except that you completed maths and science at GCSE level or equivalent. Additional activities will be available for students who already have a relevant background in physics, biology or psychology to provide stretch.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aims of this module are to: - Introduce you to fundamental physical and mathematical principles, with particular relevance to neurosensory function - Introduce you to the concepts of waves and electromagnetic fields - Introduce the principles of vibratory motion, simple and complex signals and time- and frequency-domain representations - Explain correct usage of relevant physical terms and quantities- Introduce methods for analysing mechanical, acoustical, optical and electrical systems - Enable you to develop your understanding and skills in the operation and calibration of instrumentation relevant to the human neurosensory system and according to recognised standards - Provide examples that link the material in this module to other programme modules - Introduce you to the basic methods used for, and the principles behind, electrophysiological and psychophysical measurement in neuroscience - Enable you to develop skills to critically evaluate and analyse information from books, webbased learning and relevant scientific literature - Enthuse you with scientific methods and research - Give examples that relate abnormalities of these parameters to features of neurosensory loss in humans

Learning Outcomes

Disciplinary Specific Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe basic physical and mathematical principles relating to neurosensory function and stimuli
  • Select and justify appropriate methods for representing and analysing signals.
  • Explain the operation of instrumentation relevant to the human neurosensory system and principles of calibration
  • Describe the basic methods used for psychophysical and electrophysiological measurement and explain the principles underlying those methods
  • Evaluate alternative basic approaches for use with individuals, identifying common problems of measurement and synthesising information from a variety of sources.


- Basic mathematical principles - Fundamental and derived physical quantities and their units - Simple vibratory motion and the sine wave - Transmission and propagation of light and sound - Electromagnetic waves and fields - Power and intensity, the decibel (logarithms) - Types of signal and time and frequency domain representation - Analogue and digital signals and systems - Principles of signal measurement, conditioning and analysis - Descriptions of mechanical, acoustical and electrical systems - Impedance and resonance - Reflection, refraction and absorption of waves - Linearity and nonlinearity, distortion - Operation and calibration of instrumentation relevant to neurosensory testing - Units of intensity, frequency and time - AC and DC signals - Analogue and digital representation of signals - Transducer systems for electrophysiological measurement - Analysis and recording systems including signal conditioning - Type and generation of stimuli - Signals and noise - Nerve conduction studies and velocity (NCV) measurement - Recording evoked potentials (EPs) - Spontaneous electroencephalography (EEG) including electrode montages - Otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) - Electro/videooculography (EOG and VOG) - Classical and modern psychoacoustic methods - Principles of detection, discrimination and recognition - Domains of neurosensory signals (intensity, frequency, time, direction, acuity, velocity) - Threshold measurement of neurosensory signals and psychometric functions - Frequency discrimination - Principles of masking - Subjective scaling techniques

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Learning activities include: - Lectures and seminars in a formal classroom setting. During these lectures there may be small group work. - Practical sessions and demonstrations - Quizzes and other formative assignments (which do not count to your module mark) - Working in your own time and in timetabled independent learning sessions. You are expected to read supporting texts outlined in the book list and make reference to appropriate academic journals in order to support lectures. - Tutorials or meetings with the module staff on request

Completion of assessment task50
Follow-up work70
Wider reading or practice60
Preparation for scheduled sessions50
Total study time300

Resources & Reading list

Resources. Provided separately.



MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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