The effect of attention on body size adaptation and body dissatisfaction

House, T., Stephen, I.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-9714-8295, Penton-Voak, I.S. and Brooks, K.R., 2022. The effect of attention on body size adaptation and body dissatisfaction. Royal Society Open Science, 9 (2): 211718. ISSN 2054-5703

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Attentional bias to low-fat bodies is thought to be associated with body dissatisfaction-a symptom and risk factor of eating disorders. However, the causal nature of this relationship is unclear. In three preregistered experiments, we trained 370 women to attend towards either high-or low-fat body stimuli using an attention training dot probe task. For each experiment, we analysed the effect of the attention training on (i) attention to subsequently presented high-versus low-fat body stimuli, (ii) visual adaptation to body size, and (iii) body dissatisfaction. The attention training had no effect on attention towards high-or low-fat bodies in an online setting (Experiment 1), but did increase attention to high-fat bodies in a laboratory setting (Experiment 2). Neither perceptions of a 'normal' body size nor levels of body dissatisfaction changed as a result of the attention training in either setting. The results in the online setting did not change when we reduced the stimulus onset-asynchrony of the dot probe task from 500 to 100 ms (Experiment 3). Our results provide no evidence that the dot probe training task used here has robust effects on attention to body size, body image disturbance or body dissatisfaction.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Royal Society Open Science
Creators: House, T., Stephen, I.D., Penton-Voak, I.S. and Brooks, K.R.
Publisher: Royal Society
Date: 23 February 2022
Volume: 9
Number: 2
ISSN: 2054-5703
Rights: © 2022 the authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 24 Feb 2022 09:04
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2022 09:04

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