UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Body image distortions in healthy adults.

Fuentes, CT; Longo, MR; Haggard, P; (2013) Body image distortions in healthy adults. Acta Psychol (Amst) , 144 (2) 344 - 351. 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.06.012. Green open access

[img] PDF
1-s2.0-S0001691813001455-main.pdf

Download (439kB)

Abstract

Distortions of body image have often been investigated in clinical disorders. Much of this literature implicitly assumes healthy adults maintain an accurate body image. We recently developed a novel, implicit, and quantitative measure of body image - the Body Image Task (BIT). Here, we report a large-scale analysis of performance on this task by healthy adults. In both an in-person and an online version of the BIT, participants were presented with an image of a head as an anchoring stimulus on a computer screen, and told to imagine that the head was part of a mirror image of themselves in a standing position. They were then instructed to judge where, relative to the head, each of several parts of their body would be located. The relative positions of each landmark can be used to construct an implicit perceptual map of bodily structure. We could thus measure the internally-stored body image, although we cannot exclude contributions from other representations. Our results show several distortions of body image. First, we found a large and systematic over-estimation of width relative to height. These distortions were similar for both males and females, and did not closely track the idiosyncrasies of individual participant's own bodies. Comparisons of individual body parts showed that participants overestimated the width of their shoulders and the length of their upper arms, relative to their height, while underestimating the lengths of their lower arms and legs. Principal components analysis showed a clear spatial structure to the distortions, suggesting spatial organisation and segmentation of the body image into upper and lower limb components that are bilaterally integrated. These results provide new insight into the body image of healthy adults, and have implications for the study and rehabilitation of clinical populations.

Type: Article
Title: Body image distortions in healthy adults.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.06.012
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2013.06.012
Additional information: © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Keywords: 2220 Psychometrics & Statistics & Methodology: Tests & Testing, 2320 Human Experimental Psychology: Sensory Perception, Body image, Body representation, Position sense
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1405590
Downloads since deposit
135Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item