The Emotional and Attentional Impact of Exposure to One's Own Body in Bulimia Nervosa: A Physiological View
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AutorOrtega-Roldán Oliva, Blanca; Rodríguez Ruiz, Sonia; Perakakis, Pandelis; Fernández Santaella, María del Carmen; Vila Castellar, Jaime
Public Library of Science (PLOS)
AccelerationAnalysis of varianceBulimia nervosaDecelerationEating disordersFaceReflexesSkin physiology
Ortega-Roldán, B.; et al. The Emotional and Attentional Impact of Exposure to One's Own Body in Bulimia Nervosa: A Physiological View. Plos One, 9(7): e102595 (2014). [http://hdl.handle.net/10481/32862]
PatrocinadorThe present research was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness [PSI2009-08417 and PSI2012-31395]. P.P. was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and University Jaume I [ECO2011-23634, P1-1B2012-27, and JCI-2010-06790].
Background: Body dissatisfaction is the most relevant body image disturbance in bulimia nervosa (BN). Research has shown that viewing one's own body evokes negative thoughts and emotions in individuals with BN. However, the psychophysiological mechanisms involved in this negative reaction have not yet been clearly established. Our aim was to examine the emotional and attentional processes that are activated when patients with BN view their own bodies. Method: We examined the effects of viewing a video of one's own body on the physiological (eye-blink startle, cardiac defense, and skin conductance) and subjective (pleasure, arousal, and control ratings) responses elicited by a burst of 110 dB white noise of 500 ms duration. The participants were 30 women with BN and 30 healthy control women. The experimental task consisted of two consecutive and counterbalanced presentations of the auditory stimulus preceded, alternatively, by a video of the participant's own body versus no such video. Results: The results showed that, when viewing their own bodies, women with BN experienced (a) greater inhibition of the startle reflex, (b) greater cardiac acceleration in the first component of the defense reaction, (c) greater skin conductance response, and (d) less subjective pleasure and control combined with greater arousal, compared with the control participants. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that, for women with BN, peripheral-physiological responses to self-images are dominated by attentional processes, which provoke an immobility reaction caused by a dysfunctional negative response to their own body.