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Keywords:

  • bulimia nervosa;
  • eating disorders;
  • eating disorder not otherwise specified;
  • theory of mind;
  • social cognition;
  • emotion recognition

Abstract

Objective:

This study aimed to investigate theory of mind (ToM) in individuals with bulimia nervosa (BN), an area neglected by empirical research despite social functioning difficulties in this disorder and evidence of ToM deficits in people with anorexia nervosa (AN).

Method:

ToM was assessed in 48 BN and 34 Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified BN-type (EDNOS-BN) outpatients and 57 healthy controls (HCs) using the Reading the Mind in the Eyes and the Reading the Mind in the Films (RMF), an ecologically valid task novel to BN research.

Results:

Overall performance in BN and EDNOS-BN groups was equivalent to HCs on both tasks. Individuals with BN had enhanced negative emotion recognition on the RMF.

Discussion:

Individuals with AN and BN have distinct socio-cognitive profiles. Further research into social cognition is required to establish the link between interpersonal difficulties and psychopathology in people with BN. © 2011 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2012)