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Experimental manipulation of visual attention affects body size adaptation but not body dissatisfaction

Stephen, ID, Hunter, K, Sturman, D, Mond, J ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X, Stevenson, RJ and Brooks, KR 2018 , 'Experimental manipulation of visual attention affects body size adaptation but not body dissatisfaction' , The International journal of eating disorders , pp. 1-9 , doi: 10.1002/eat.22976.

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Objective: Prolonged exposure to large/small bodies causes aftereffects in perceived body size.Outside the laboratory, individuals repeatedly exposed to small (large) bodies tend to over-(under-) estimate their size and exhibit increased (decreased) body dissatisfaction. Why, amongindividuals exposed to approximately equivalent distributions of body sizes, only some developbody size and shape misperception and/or body dissatisfaction is not yet fully understood.Method: We exposed 61 women to high and low adiposity bodies simultaneously, instructinghalf to attend to high, and half to low adiposity bodies.Results: Participants in the high adiposity attention condition's perception of “normal” body sizesignificantly increased in adiposity, and vice versa.Discussion: This suggests that visual attention moderates body size aftereffects. Interventionsencouraging visual attention to more realistic ranges of bodies may therefore reduce body misperception. No change in body dissatisfaction was found, suggesting that changes in the perceptual component (misperception) may not necessarily affect the attitudinal component(dissatisfaction) of body image distortion.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Stephen, ID and Hunter, K and Sturman, D and Mond, J and Stevenson, RJ and Brooks, KR
Keywords: Body size misperception, Visual adaptation
Journal or Publication Title: The International journal of eating disorders
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
ISSN: 0276-3478
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/eat.22976
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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