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Biol Psychol. 2016 Mar;115:27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.01.002. Epub 2016 Jan 8.

Local and global visual processing and eating disorder traits: An event-related potential study.

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Dept. of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK. Electronic address:
Feeding and Eating Disorders Service, Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, UK; The Huntercombe Group, UK.
Dept. of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.


Recent studies have suggested that individuals with eating disorders show a stronger local processing bias and/or a weaker global bias in visual processing than typical individuals. In this study, healthy participants with varying scores on the Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) performed the Navon task, a standard task of local and global visual processing, whilst electrophysiological measures were recorded. Global stimuli were presented that were made up of many local parts, and the information between levels was either compatible or incompatible. Participants were instructed to report the identity of either a global or a local target shape, while ignoring the other level. Higher EDE-Q scores were associated with enhanced amplitude of the P3 component during local visual processing, as well as greater P1 amplitude during local incompatible trials. These findings support the claim that eating disorders are associated with differences in local and global visual processing.


Central coherence; Eating disorders; Electroencephalography; Global processing; Local processing

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