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Body checking induces an attentional bias for body-related cues




Theoretical models suggest that body checking is linked to biased cognitive processing. However, this link has not been investigated in any systematic way. The present study examined the influence of body checking on attentional bias for body-related cues by manipulating body checking behaviors in nonclinical participants.


66 women were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: body checking, body exposure, or control. A body visual search task was used to measure attentional bias.


Participants in the body checking condition showed speeded detection of body-related information compared to participants in the exposure and control conditions. No evidence was found for increased distraction by body-related information. Furthermore, participants in the body checking condition reported more body dissatisfaction after the manipulation than participants in the body exposure and control conditions.


These results are the first to experimentally establish the link between body checking and attentional bias toward body-related cues. © 2010 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2011; 44:50–57)

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