The influence of variations in eating disorder-related symptoms on processing of emotional faces in a non-clinical female sample: an eye-tracking study

Emma Sharpe, Deborah J. Wallis, Nathan Ridout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study aimed to: i) determine if the attention bias towards angry faces reported in eating disorders generalises to a non-clinical sample varying in eating disorder-related symptoms; ii) examine if the bias occurs during initial orientation or later strategic processing; and iii) confirm previous findings of impaired facial emotion recognition in non-clinical disordered eating. Fifty-two females viewed a series of face-pairs (happy or angry paired with neutral) whilst their attentional deployment was continuously monitored using an eye-tracker. They subsequently identified the emotion portrayed in a separate series of faces. The highest (n=18) and lowest scorers (n=17) on the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI) were compared on the attention and facial emotion recognition tasks. Those with relatively high scores exhibited impaired facial emotion recognition, confirming previous findings in similar non-clinical samples. They also displayed biased attention away from emotional faces during later strategic processing, which is consistent with previously observed impairments in clinical samples. These differences were related to drive-for-thinness. Although we found no evidence of a bias towards angry faces, it is plausible that the observed impairments in emotion recognition and avoidance of emotional faces could disrupt social functioning and act as a risk factor for the development of eating disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume240
Early online date23 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016

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Emotions
Thinness
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Eating
Equipment and Supplies

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Keywords

  • attention
  • eating disorders
  • eye-movements
  • disordered eating
  • drive-for-thinness

Cite this

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The influence of variations in eating disorder-related symptoms on processing of emotional faces in a non-clinical female sample : an eye-tracking study. / Sharpe, Emma; Wallis, Deborah J.; Ridout, Nathan.

In: Psychiatry Research, Vol. 240, 30.06.2016, p. 321-327.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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