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Atentional bias

Body-related attentional bias in anorexia nervosa and body dissatisfaction in females: An eye-tracking and virtual reality study
Student: Mar Clua i Sánchez
Director: José Gutiérrez Maldonado
Computer techician: Sara Badia
Contributors: Bruno Porras Garcia
Bachelor’s degree final project
Academic course: 2019/2020
Recent research suggests that there is a tendency in eating disorder (ED) patients of checking the unattractive body parts. However, little research uses the attentional bias (AB) phenomenon together with virtual reality (VR) to focus in this pathological behavior and body dissatisfaction (BD) controls. The aim of this study is to examine whether anorexia nervosa (AN) patients specifically have a longer fixation time and more number of fixations on the weight-related body parts compared to healthy sample with high and low levels of body dissatisfaction using the collected data of eye tracking AB measures taken from the observation of VR avatar with the real silhouette of each participant.
Patients with anorexia nervosa will have more time and number of fixations to weight-related body parts than healthy patients. On the other hand, the group with high body dissatisfaction (HBD) will have more fixations and will be more time looking at the parts related to the weight than the low body dissatisfaction (LBD) group.
Forty-three college women (18 with high BD and 25 with low BD) and 23 anorexia nervosa patients were embodied in a personalized virtual avatar with their own BMI data (calculated with the weight and height measurements taken previously) while eye movement data was tracked through an Eye-Tracking device incorporated in the virtual reality headset (FOVE). The number of fixations and the complete fixations time was focused on the weight-related areas of interest (W-AOIs) and non-weight-related areas of interest (NW-AOIs).
Evidence was found that patients with AN display longer and more frequent gazes towards W-AOIs than both groups of healthy participants, who did not show any statistically differences in the visual selective behavior between the NW-AOIs and the W-AOIs.
These findings support the conclusions that a negative body information processing or/and gazing the weight related body parts entailing to unhealthy behavior patterns.
Key Words
Attentional bias, body dissatisfaction, anorexia nervosa, virtual reality, body image.
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