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The thin white line: adaptation suggests a common neural mechanism for judgments of Asian and Caucasian body size


Gould-Fensom, L and Tan, CBY and Brooks, KR and Mond, JM and Stevenson, RJ and Stephen, ID, The thin white line: adaptation suggests a common neural mechanism for judgments of Asian and Caucasian body size, Frontiers in Psychology, 10 pp. 2532. ISSN 1664-1078 (2019) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Gould-Fensom, Tan, Brooks, Mond, Stevenson and Stephen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

DOI: doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02532


Visual adaptation has been proposed as a mechanism linking viewing images of thin women’s bodies with body size and shape misperception (BSSM). Non-Caucasian populations appear less susceptible to BSSM, possibly because adaptation to thin Caucasian bodies in Western media may not fully transfer to own-race bodies. Experiment 1 used a cross-adaptation paradigm to examine the transfer of body size aftereffects across races. Large aftereffects were found in the predicted directions for all conditions. The strength of aftereffects was statistically equivalent when the race of test stimuli was congruent vs. incongruent with the race of adaptation stimuli, suggesting complete transfer of aftereffects across races. Experiment 2 used a contingent-adaptation paradigm, finding that simultaneous adaptation to wide Asian and narrow Caucasian women’s bodies (or vice versa) results in no significant aftereffects for either congruent or incongruent conditions and statistically equivalent results for each. Equal and opposite adaptation effects may therefore transfer completely across races, canceling each other out. This suggests that body size is encoded by a race-general neural mechanism. Unexpectedly, Asian observers showed reduced body size aftereffects compared to Caucasian observers, regardless of the race of stimulus bodies, perhaps helping to explain why Asian populations appear less susceptible to BSSM.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:body perception, visual adaptation, visual aftereffects, cross-cultural, body image, body size
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Other health sciences
Research Field:Other health sciences not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the health sciences
UTAS Author:Mond, JM (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:150764
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2022-06-28
Last Modified:2022-07-28
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