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Keywords:

  • bulimia;
  • attentional bias;
  • disordered eating;
  • attractive women

Abstract

Objective

One of the defining features of bulimia is a pervasive tendency to focus on and evaluate one's own body. The extent to which bulimotypic symptoms are associated with biases in attention to other individuals in the social world is less well known. In the current study, we examined the relation between bulimotypic symptoms and biases in attention to other men and women.

Method

A sample of undergraduate women performed a visual cueing task designed to assess attention to target faces varying in their gender and level of attractiveness.

Results

Women with relatively high levels of bulimotypic symptomatology tended to dwell on attractive female faces, but not other faces. This attentional bias was not attributable to perfectionistic ideals, body dissatisfaction, or self-esteem.

Conclusion

Findings could reflect a link between disordered eating and the perception of competitive threat in other attractive women. © 2005 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.