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The Role of Cognitive Factors in Body-Size Perception and Recall-Size Estimation in Normal-Weight Women

Abstract : Objective: Based on the hypothesis that remembered body size differs from perceived body size, the objectives of this study were to assess the difference between body-size perception and recall size and to investigate the neuropsychological correlates of body-size estimation. Method: Ninety-one normal-weight women were randomized into three body-size estimation conditions: photo-size estimation, mirror-size estimation and recall-size estimation without a photo or mirror. All participants first estimated the size of a neutral object, then adjusted distorted images of themselves according to experimental conditions. Finally, the participants completed the Trail Making Test (TMT) as a neuropsychological measure. Results: Body-size estimations were influenced by the experimental condition in opposite directions for body-size perception and recall-size estimation. Participants who overestimated their body size took longer to complete the TMT-B, a measure of cognitive flexibility. Conclusion: Body perception and body memory are clearly separable components of body image. An individual's amount of mental flexibility appears to be associated with body-size distortions, particularly body-size overestimations. Further research is needed on the nature of potential causal mechanisms for this phenomenon, including the use of relevant tests to explore cognitive flexibility and the effects of potentially confounding variables.
Keywords : body-size perception
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 4:56:34 PM
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Aurélie Docteur, Isabel Urdapilleta, Liliana Rico Duarte. The Role of Cognitive Factors in Body-Size Perception and Recall-Size Estimation in Normal-Weight Women. European Review of Applied Psychology, 2012, 62 (3), pp.129-135. ⟨10.1016/j.erap.2012.05.001⟩. ⟨hal-01473284⟩

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