Disordered eating characteristics and misperceptions: Seeing is believing?

Melissa Fietz (2011). Disordered eating characteristics and misperceptions: Seeing is believing? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Melissa Fietz
Thesis Title Disordered eating characteristics and misperceptions: Seeing is believing?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Jeanie Sheffield
Total pages 98
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The present study examined how a community sample of young women perceives and judges size. The main aim of the study was to determine whether individual characteristics, in particular disordered eating characteristics, affected performance on a perceptual size judgement task. A final sample of 79 participants ranged in age from 17 to 38 years (M = 19.77, SD = 3.79) and was recruited from introductory courses and the general community of the University of Queensland. All participants completed a perceptual task followed by an online survey. An outline resembling a door frame of a fixed size was presented as the reference stimulus followed by the target stimulus: a silhouette of a female’s body that was narrower than, equal to, or wider than the reference stimulus. The participants were instructed to determine whether the silhouette would fit through the door frame on each trial, and accuracy and response times were recorded in a baseline condition and priming condition. The online survey consisted of demographic questions and psychological measures, including the Eating Disorder Inventory-3, the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21, and the Space Relations subscale of the Differential Aptitude Tests. Results of the perceptual task revealed that the task was being performed as expected, however the accuracy of responses for the priming condition did not significantly differ from the baseline condition. Individuals considered low on the eating disorder risk composite score (EDRC) did not significantly differ from the high EDRC group for accuracy of responses in either task condition. The results suggest that misperceptions of body size and shape, which are often associated with individuals with disorder eating characteristics, do not extend to external objects. Accordingly, this supports the notion that body size overestimations are an outcome of distorted cognitions, rather than an underlying perceptual abnormality.
Keyword Disordered eating characteristics

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Created: Thu, 14 Jun 2012, 09:38:14 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology