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Sunday 19th November 2017

Brain naturally distorts body image

15th June 2010

Researchers at University College London have discovered that the brain can act to distort body image.


This discovery could be one of the factors which contribute to eating disorders such as anorexia.

The team said that their research showed that people tended to believe the width of their hands was greater and their fingers were shorter than they actually were.

In the study, Dr Matthew Longo and his team recruited 18 people to participate in an experiment.

The subjects put their hands underneath a board and were asked to indicate where they thought their knuckles and fingers were.

The experiment showed that many subjects did not correctly guess the location of their fingers.

Dr Longo said: "These findings may well be relevant to psychiatric conditions involving body image such as anorexia nervosa, as there may be a general bias towards perceiving the body to be wider than it is."

"Our results show dramatic distortions of hand shape, which were highly consistent across participants."

The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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