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Atentional bias

About the atentional bias and the manly corporal image. A survey of virtual reality and eye tracker
Student: Erik Exposito Sanz
Director: José Gutiérrez Maldonado
Computer techician: Marti Ferragut and Sara Badia
Contributors: Bruno Porras Garcia
Master's degree final project
Academic course: 2018/2019
In the study of Body Image (BI), it has been proved that the Attentional Bias (AB) is a phenomenon in which patients with Eating Disorders (ED) or high body dissatisfaction (BD) show an attentional tendency towards self-attributed unattractive body parts. In the case of men, BD would be mainly represented by an obsession with the musculature (OM). This study aims to evaluate the presence of this AB in men toward specific muscle- or non-muscle-related body parts using a Virtual Reality-based embodiment technique and an eye-tracking AB assessment.
Forty men (20 with high OM and 20 with low OM) were embodied in three avatars through virtual reality. The first one had the subject’s Body Mass Index (BMI), the second one had an increment of the subject’s BMI and the last one had a decrement of the initial BMI (the order of the second and the last avatar were randomized). The illusion of ownership over a virtual body was induced by means of visuotactile and visuomotor stimulation over the full body. The complete fixation time on muscle-related areas of interest was recorded for the three conditions/avatars.
The results show a main effect between the different conditions/avatars, but with no interaction with the high/low OM groups. The avatar with an increment of BMI shows distributed values of attention between the muscle- and nonmuscle- related areas of interest, while the avatar with a decrement of the BMI shows high values of attention for the muscle-related areas of interest.
This study provides new information about the BD in men, showing clear results about an AB towards the muscle-related areas of interest when the subject sees himself thinner. It would be interesting to expand the study to contrast the acquired data. The possibilitiy of combining virtual reality with Eye tracker technology has been proved to be able to provide great opportunities in the study of BI and ED.
attentional bias; muscularity; eye-tracking; virtual reality.
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