Attentional bias for body and food in eating disorders: Increased distraction, speeded detection, or both?

E. Smeets*, A.J. Roefs, E. van Furth, A.T.M. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Previous research suggests that eating disorder patients show an attentional bias for body- and food-related information. However, so far little is known about the mechanisms that underlie the attentional favoring of this particular information in eating disorder patients. In the present study, we used both a body and a food visual search task to study speeded detection and increased distraction in eating disorder patients (n = 67) and healthy controls (n = 60). Compared with controls, eating disorder patients showed evidence of speeded detection of body-related information, and increased distraction by food information. These results suggest that the mechanism underlying the biased attentional allocation of eating disorder patients varies, and is dependent upon the type of information they are presented with.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-238
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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