Attentional Bias to Threat in Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Facilitated Processing or Disengagement Difficulties?

Sullivan, Patrick (2013). Attentional Bias to Threat in Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Facilitated Processing or Disengagement Difficulties? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Sullivan, Patrick
Thesis Title Attentional Bias to Threat in Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Facilitated Processing or Disengagement Difficulties?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Cynthia Turner
Total pages 81
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a body image disorder characterised by a preoccupation with a slight or imagined defect in one’s appearance, leading to excessive distress or functional impairment in social, occupational and/or other important areas of life. Previous research and theory have implicated the role of selective attention in the development and maintenance of the disorder, most notably in Veale’s cognitive-behavioural model (Veale, 2004, Veale et al., 1996). The current study explores the nature and extent of selective attentional biases toward BDD-related threat stimuli, by investigating (a) whether an attentional bias to BDD-related threat exists, and (b) whether such a bias, if found, stems from a process of facilitated attention toward threat or from difficulties in disengaging attention away from threat. To investigate these focal research questions, a modified version of the Posner paradigm (Posner, 1980) was utilised to test an analogue undergraduate student population categorised as either ‘high dysmorphic concern’ or ‘low dysmorphic concern’. Participants completed a computer task in which words classified as ‘BBD-threat’, ‘BDDpositive’ or ‘neutral’ were presented as a cue to one of two locations on the screen. Participants then detected the location of a probe that appeared in either the same position as the preceding cue word (valid cue) or in the opposite location (invalid cue). It was hypothesised that the high dysmorphic concern group would show significantly slower response times for invalidly cued probes compared with the low dysmorphic concern group, but only in the ‘BDD-threat’ condition, thereby showing support for the disengagement difficulties perspective. The study’s hypotheses were partially supported. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.
Keyword body dysmorphic disorder
Selective Attention
BI 397
threat
disengagement

 
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Created: Thu, 03 Jul 2014, 12:36:35 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology