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


Stephen, ID and Hunter, K and Sturman, D and Mond, J and Stevenson, RJ and Brooks, KR, Experimental manipulation of visual attention affects body size adaptation but not body dissatisfaction, International Journal of Eating Disorders, 52, (1) pp. 79-87. ISSN 0276-3478 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1002/eat.22976


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, among individuals exposed to approximately equivalent distributions of body sizes, only some develop body 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, instructing half to attend to high, and half to low adiposity bodies.

Results: Participants in the high adiposity attention condition's perception of "normal" body size significantly increased in adiposity, and vice versa.

Discussion: This suggests that visual attention moderates body size aftereffects. Interventions encouraging 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 Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:body size misperception, visual adaptation
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Health education and promotion
UTAS Author:Mond, J (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:130354
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:15
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2019-01-22
Last Modified:2019-04-15

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