Body checking induces an attentional bias for body-related cues

Elke Smeets, Marika Tiggemann, Eva Kemps, Jennifer Mills, Sarah Hollitt, Anne Roefs, Anita Jansen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    42 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: Theoretical models suggest that body checking is linked to biased cognitive processing. However, this link has not been investigated in any systematic way. The present study examined the influence of body checking on attentional bias for body-related cues by manipulating body checking behaviors in nonclinical participants. Method: 66 women were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: body checking, body exposure, or control. A body visual search task was used to measure attentional bias. Results: Participants in the body checking condition showed speeded detection of body-related information compared to participants in the exposure and control conditions. No evidence was found for increased distraction by body-related information. Furthermore, participants in the body checking condition reported more body dissatisfaction after the manipulation than participants in the body exposure and control conditions. Discussion: These results are the first to experimentally establish the link between body checking and attentional bias toward body-related cues.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)50-57
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


    • attentional bias
    • body checking
    • body image
    • speeded detection


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