Piers Cornelissen

Piers Cornelissen
Northumbria University · Department of Psychology

BA, MBBS, DPhil, MA

About

112
Publications
95,415
Reads
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5,891
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - present
Northumbria University
Position
  • Research: Northumbria University
August 2006 - August 2012
The University of York
January 1998 - July 2006
Newcastle University

Publications

Publications (112)
Article
Full-text available
Dance is a universal human behaviour that is observed particularly in courtship contexts, and that provides information that could be useful to potential partners. Here, we use a data-driven approach to pinpoint the movements that discriminate female dance quality. Using 3D motion-capture we recorded women whilst they danced to a basic rhythm. Vide...
Article
Full-text available
The “hub and spoke model” of semantic representation suggests that the multimodal features of objects are drawn together by an anterior temporal lobe (ATL) “hub”, while modality-specific “spokes” capture perceptual/action features. However, relatively little is known about how these components are recruited through time to support object identifica...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a life-threatening mental health condition. A core feature is a disturbance of body image, such that sufferers see themselves as fatter than they actually are. Design: We tested the effectiveness of a novel training programme to recalibrate our participants' perception of body size. Methods: In a novel adap...
Article
Full-text available
A key question in attractiveness studies is the validity of the reported results outside the narrow confines of the experimental paradigm used. Does the range of physical features in a set of pictures used to test attractiveness judgments predict the individual ratings of each body? Or does each stimulus have an attractiveness value independent of...
Article
Full-text available
Objective: A core feature of anorexia nervosa (AN) is an over-estimation of body size. Women with AN have a different pattern of eye-movements when judging bodies, but it is unclear whether this is specific to their diagnosis or whether it is found in anyone over-estimating body size. Method: To address this question, we compared the eye movemen...
Article
Full-text available
We investigated the relationships between healthy women's estimates of their own body size, their body dissatisfaction, and how they subjectively judge the transition from normal to overweight in other women's bodies (the "normal/overweight" boundary). We propose two complementary hypotheses. In the first, participants compare other women to an int...
Article
Verbal denigration of personal body size and shape ("fat talk") is correlated with, and can have a causal influence on body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. What is less clear is who is most likely to fat talk. To address this, Corning and Gondoli (2012) conducted a study confirming that a woman's body dissatisfaction directly predicted their...
Article
Psychological concerns are frequently indexed by psychometric questionnaires but the mental representations that they seek to quantify are difficult to visualise. We used a set of questionnaires designed to measure men’s concept of their bodies including: the Drive for Muscularity Scale (DMS; McCreary & Sasse, 2000), the Perceived Sociocultural Pre...
Article
Recently, Cornelissen, Cornelissen, Groves, McCarty and Tovée (2018) asked which image orientations (e.g. front-, side-, or three-quarter view) are most appropriate for tasks which are used for self-estimates of body size and shape. Based on psychophysical measurements, they showed that front view stimuli showed substantially poorer content validit...
Article
Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa (AN), are challenging to treat successfully and have a very high relapse rate. Body image disturbance (BID) is a core component of these eating disorders. It is a predicter of onset, treatment outcome and future relapse. However, recent studies suggest that BID can be improved by an adaptation of cognitive...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: Over-estimation of body size, a core feature of Eating Disorders (EDs), has been well-documented both in young healthy and EDs individuals. Yet, evidence that altered body perception might also affect older women is limited. Here, we examined whether attitudinal components of body image (i.e., the feelings an individual has about their...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate self-assessment of body shape and size plays a key role in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of both obesity and eating disorders like anorexia nervosa. These chronic conditions cause significant health problems, reduced quality of life, and represent a major problem for health services worldwide. Variation in body shape depends on...
Preprint
Verbal denigration of personal body size and shape (“fat talk”) and engagement in social comparison has been linked to the development of body dissatisfaction and eating disordered behaviour. A key question is whether the relationship between these two predictors is additive or multiplicative, as the latter relationship would imply a far more serio...
Article
We tested the efficacy of a training programme, delivered in virtual reality (VR), to modify the perceptual boundary between what participants classify as a fat versus a thin body. Three cohorts of 20 female volunteers with high body image concerns were recruited to two intervention groups and one control group. All participants completed a 4-day t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Body image disturbances are associated with eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa, supporting the importance of developing interventions that specifically target body image. Most interventions focus on targeting sociocultural aspects of body image as opposed to the perceptual component. Here a perceptual body image intervent...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Recently, there has been a shift towards the use of 3D scanning technology in body size perception research. Based on limitations of previous methodologies there is a need to develop and validate female body stimuli that are high-resolution, photo-realistic and biometrically accurate, and modern technology makes this possible. The aim of this proje...
Article
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When measured in units of body mass index (BMI), how much variation in men’s self-estimates of body size is caused by: (i) variation in participants’ body composition and (ii) variation in the apparent muscle mass and muscle tone of the stimuli being judged? To address this, we generated nine sets of male CGI bodies representing low, mid and high m...
Article
We used a high-level adaptation paradigm to distinguish between two hypotheses: (1) perceptual and attitudinal body image measurements reflect conceptually different mechanisms which are statistically independent of each other; (2) attitudinal (e.g., questionnaire) and perceptual (e.g., visual yes-no) body image tasks represent two different ways o...
Article
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How does the brain represent and process different types of knowledge? The Dual Hub account postulates that anterior temporal lobes (ATL) support taxonomic relationships based on shared physical features (mole – cat), while temporoparietal regions, including posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), support thematic associations (mole – earth). Conve...
Article
Semantic memory encompasses knowledge of specific objects and their diverse associations, but the mechanisms that allow us to retrieve aspects of knowledge required for a given task are poorly understood. The Dual Hub theory suggests that separate semantic stores represent knowledge of (i) taxonomic categories (in the anterior temporal lobes, ATL)...
Poster
Full-text available
Recent studies with eating disordered individuals suggest that there could be more interaction between these two representations than first thought. Therefore, we investigate how body image might act to influence the body schema within a typical, healthy population of 100 adult women. In a sample of typical, healthy women, we quantified the extent...
Article
Full-text available
A modified version of the bubbles masking paradigm was used in three experiments to determine the key areas of the body that are used in self-estimates of body size. In this paradigm, parts of the stimuli are revealed by several randomly allocated Gaussian “windows” forcing judgements to be made based on this partial information. Over multiple tria...
Article
Full-text available
Differing patterns of verbal short-term memory (STM) impairment have provided unique insights into the relationship between STM and broader language function. Lexicality effects (i.e., better recall for words than nonwords) are larger in patients with phonological deficits following left temporoparietal lesions, and smaller in patients with semanti...
Article
Rhythmic activity in populations of neurons is associated with cognitive and motor function. Our 34 understanding of the neuronal mechanisms underlying these core brain functions has benefitted 35 from demonstrations of cellular, synaptic and network phenomena leading to the generation of 36 discrete rhythms at the local network level. However, dis...
Article
There is now a considerable body of evidence to suggest that internal representations of the body can be meaningfully separated into at least two general levels; body image as a perceptual construct and body schema as a motor metric. However, recent studies with eating disordered individuals have suggested that there may in fact be more interaction...
Article
Full-text available
According to contemporary accounts, linguistic behaviour reflects the interaction of distinct representations supporting word meaning and phonology. However, there is controversy about the extent to which this interaction occurs within task-specific systems, specialised for reading and short-term memory, as opposed to between components that suppor...
Article
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This experimental study evaluated the differential effects of 'giving' and 'receiving' massage on wellbeing in healthy but stressed couples. Forty-two volunteers started the study and of these, 38 (i.e. 19 couples) completed a 3-week massage course. Emotional stress and mental clarity were assessed before and after mutual massage between each pair...
Article
Full-text available
Distinct neural processes are thought to support the retrieval of semantic information that is (i) coherent with strongly-encoded aspects of knowledge, and (ii) non-dominant yet relevant for the current task or context. While the brain regions that support readily coherent and more controlled patterns of semantic retrieval are relatively well-chara...
Article
A fundamental issue in testing body image perception is how to present the test stimuli. Previous studies have almost exclusively used images of bodies viewed in front-view, but this potentially obscures key visual cues used to judge adiposity reducing the ability to make accurate judgements. A potential solution is to use a three-quarter view, whi...
Article
Full-text available
An MEG study investigated the role of context in semantic interpretation by examining the comprehension of ambiguous words in contexts leading to different interpretations. We compared high-ambiguity words in minimally different contexts (to bowl, the bowl) to low-ambiguity counterparts (the tray, to flog). Whole brain beamforming revealed the enga...
Article
Full-text available
A core feature of anorexia nervosa is an over-estimation of body size. However, quantifying this over-estimation has been problematic as existing methodologies introduce a series of artefacts and inaccuracies in the stimuli used for judgements of body size. To overcome these problems, we have: (i) taken 3D scans of 15 women who have symptoms of ano...
Poster
Full-text available
Body image is the perception that a person has of their physical self and the thoughts and feelings that result from that perception. It comprises two components: perceptual and attitudinal. Body image distortion (BID) is a cardinal feature of anorexia nervosa (AN), a serious eating disorder primarily affecting women, and which has high relapse and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Distinct neural processes are thought to support the retrieval of semantic information that is (i) coherent with strongly-encoded aspects of knowledge, and (ii) non-dominant yet relevant for the current task or context. While the brain regions that support coherent and controlled patterns of semantic retrieval are relatively well-characterised, the...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: There has been a steady rise in obesity levels in Western countries, and a contributory factor is people's failure to recognize weight gain. Two important visual perceptual biases, contraction bias and Weber's law, that have hitherto been ignored in the obesity literature could contribute to this problem. Contraction bias predicts that...
Article
Unlabelled: Semantic retrieval involves both (1) automatic spreading activation between highly related concepts and (2) executive control processes that tailor this activation to suit the current context or goals. Two structures in left temporoparietal cortex, angular gyrus (AG) and posterior middle temporal gyrus (pMTG), are thought to be crucial...
Article
Full-text available
In this cross-sectional study, we investigated the influence of personal BMI on body size estimation in 42 women who have symptoms of anorexia (referred to henceforth as anorexia spectrum disorders, ANSD), and 100 healthy controls. Low BMI control participants over-estimate their size and high BMI controls under-estimate, a pattern which is predict...
Article
Prior evidence for early activity in Broca's area during reading may reflect fast access to articulatory codes in left inferior frontal gyrus pars opercularis (LIFGpo). We put this hypothesis to test using a benchmark for articulatory involvement in reading known as the masked onset priming effect (MOPE). In masked onset priming, briefly presented...
Article
Full-text available
Could signallers use size contrast illusions to dishonestly exaggerate their attractiveness to potential mates? Using composite photographs of women from three body mass index (BMI) categories designed to simulate small groups, we show that target women of medium size are judged as thinner when surrounded by larger women than when surrounded by thi...
Article
Full-text available
What is the ideal body size and shape that we want for ourselves and our partners? What are the important physical features in this ideal? And do both genders agree on what is an attractive body? To answer these questions we used a 3D interactive software system which allows our participants to produce a photorealistic, virtual male or female body....
Article
Full-text available
Attentional biases may influence the eye-movements made when judging bodies and so alter the visual information sampled when making a judgment. This may lead to an overestimation of body size. We measured the eye-movements made by 16 anorexic observers and 16 age-matched controls when judging body size and attractiveness. We combined behavioural da...
Article
Evidence suggests that sensitivity to coherent motion (CM) is related to reading, but its role in the etiology of developmental dyslexia remains unclear. In this longitudinal study, CM sensitivity was measured in 31 children at family risk for dyslexia and 31 low-risk controls. Children, diagnosed with dyslexia in third grade (mean age=8 years 3 mo...
Article
Full-text available
Right-handed participants respond more quickly and more accurately to written words presented in the right visual field (RVF) than in the left visual field (LVF). Previous attempts to identify the neural basis of the RVF advantage have had limited success. Experiment 1 was a behavioral study of lateralized word naming which established that the wor...
Book
Reading is a unique human ability that has become very pivotal for functioning in our world today. As modern societies rely extensively on literacy skills, and as reading disabilities have profound personal, economic and social consequences, it is surprising that we have a very underdeveloped scientific understanding of the neural basis of reading...
Chapter
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As with most complex behaviors, visual word recognition is thought to result from the dynamic interplay between the elements of a distributed cortical and subcortical network. To understand fully how visual word recognition is achieved therefore, and how it may fail in developmental dyslexia, not only the necessary and sufficient complement of node...
Article
Full-text available
Debate surrounds the precise cortical location and timing of access to phonological information during visual word recognition. Therefore, using whole-head magnetoencephalography (MEG), we investigated the spatiotemporal pattern of brain responses induced by a masked pseudohomophone priming task. Twenty healthy adults read target words that were pr...
Article
Full-text available
Behavioural studies of the perceptual cues for female physical attractiveness have suggested two potentially important features; body fat distribution (the waist-to-hip ratio or WHR) and overall body fat (often estimated by the body mass index or BMI). However none of these studies tell us directly which regions of the stimulus images inform observ...
Article
Full-text available
It is well established that the left inferior frontal gyrus plays a key role in the cerebral cortical network that supports reading and visual word recognition. Less clear is when in time this contribution begins. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG), which has both good spatial and excellent temporal resolution, to address this question. MEG data...
Article
Full-text available
Body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) are two widely used anthropometric indices of body shape argued to convey different information about health and fertility. Both indices have also been shown to affect attractiveness ratings of female bodies. However, BMI and WHR are naturally positively correlated, complicating studies designed to...
Article
Full-text available
Several studies have suggested that mate selection strategies alter with age, but the mechanism of this shift in mate strategy is unclear. Two possibilities suggest themselves. The first is that attractiveness preferences themselves alter, compensating for the changing mate value of the observer. Alternatively, the preferences may remain constant w...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the issue of orthographic processing in visual word recognition. We compare the SERIOL model to parallel models in their ability to explain experimental data at the lexical and sub-lexical levels. We find that the parallel models have difficulty accounting for position-independent letter priming...