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Body Image. 2012 Mar;9(2):261-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2012.01.002. Epub 2012 Feb 9.

Selective attention to imagined facial ugliness is specific to body dysmorphic disorder.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology and Sports Science, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany. anja.grocholewski@uni-bielefeld.de


Cognitive-behavioral models postulate that biases in selective attention are key factors contributing to susceptibility to and maintenance of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Visual attention in particular toward the imagined defect in appearance may be a crucial element. The present study therefore examined whether individuals with BDD showed increased visual attention to flaws in their own and in unfamiliar faces. Twenty individuals with BDD, 20 individuals with social phobia, and 20 mentally healthy individuals participated in an eye-tracking experiment. Participants were instructed to gaze at the photographs of 15 pictures of themselves and several unfamiliar faces. Only patients with BDD showed heightened selective visual attention to the imagined defect in their own face, as well to corresponding regions in other, unfamiliar faces. The results support the assumption that there is a specific attentional bias in BDD.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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