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Keywords:

  • bulimia;
  • central coherence;
  • information processing;
  • neuropsychology;
  • endophenotype;
  • eating disorders;
  • cognition;
  • anorexia

Abstract

Objective:

To examine the concept of central coherence in women with bulimia nervosa (BN) and address similarities and difference with those with anorexia nervosa (AN)

Method:

Forty two women with BN and 42 matched healthy women, completed neuropsychological testing measuring aspects of central coherence: Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure (RCFT), Embedded Figures Test (EFT), Block Design Test (BD), Homograph Reading Test (HRT), and Sentence Completion Task (SCT).

Results:

The BN group showed superiority in local processing as measured by EFT and lesser relative advantage from segmentation in BD, and difficulties in global processing in both visual and verbal domains as examined by RCFT, HRT, and SCT. Anxiety levels were associated with low central coherence indices in RCFT.

Conclusion:

People with BN displayed a profile consistent with the weak central coherence hypothesis. Their pattern of cognitive performance resembles that seen in AN although some differences are apparent. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008.