Seeing ghosts: Negative body evaluation predicts overestimation of negative social feedback

J.M. Alleva*, W.G. Lange, A. Jansen, C. Martijn

*Corresponding author for this work

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The current study investigated whether negative body evaluation predicts women's overestimation of negative social feedback related to their own body (i.e., covariation bias). Sixty-five female university students completed a computer task where photos of their own body, of a control woman's body, and of a neutral object, were followed by nonverbal social feedback (i.e., facial crowds with equal numbers of negative, positive, and neutral faces). Afterward, women estimated the percentage of negative, positive, and neutral social feedback that followed their own body, the control woman's body, and the neutral object. The findings provided evidence for a covariation bias: negative body evaluation predicted higher estimates of negative social feedback for women's own body, but not for the other stimuli. Additionally, the covariation bias was not explained by differences in how women interpreted the social feedback (the facial stimuli). Clinical implications of the covariation bias to body image are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-232
JournalBody Image
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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