Body checking induces an attentional bias for body-related cues

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Smeets, Elke
Tiggemann, Marika
Kemps, Eva Bertha
Mills, Jennifer S
Hollitt, Sarah Jane
Roefs, A
Jansen, A
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John Wiley and Sons
Objective: Theoretical models suggest that body checking is linked to biased cognitive processing. However, this link has not been investigated in any systematic way. The present study examined the influence of body checking on attentional bias for body-related cues by manipulating body checking behaviours in non-clinical participants. Method: 66 women were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: body checking, body exposure, or control. A body visual search task was used to measure attentional bias. Results: Participants in the body checking condition showed speeded detection of body-related information compared to participants in the exposure and control conditions. No evidence was found for increased distraction by body-related information. Furthermore, participants in the body checking condition reported more body dissatisfaction after the manipulation than participants in the body exposure and control conditions. Conclusion: These results are the first to experimentally establish the link between body checking and attentional bias toward body-related cues.
Author version made available in accordance with the publisher's policy.
Smeets, E., Tiggemann, M., Kemps, E., Mills, J., Hollitt, S., Jansen, A., & Roefs, A. (2011). Body checking induces an attentional bias for body-related cues. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44, 50-57.