Perception of affect in biological motion cues in anorexia nervosa

Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. .
International Journal of Eating Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.13). 01/2013; 46(1). DOI: 10.1002/eat.22062
Source: PubMed


Nonverbal motion cues (a clenched fist) convey essential information about the intentions of the actor. Individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) have demonstrated impairment in deciphering intention from facial affective cues, but it is unknown whether such deficits extend to deciphering affect from body motion cues.
We examined the capacities of adults with AN (n = 21) or those weight restored for ≥12 months (WR; n = 20) to perceive affect in biological motion cues relative to healthy controls (HC; n = 23).
Overall, individuals with AN evidenced greater deficit in discriminating affect from biological motion cues than WR or HC. Follow-up analyses showed that individuals with AN differed especially across two of the five conditions—deviating most from normative data when discriminating sadness and more consistently discriminating anger relative to WR or HC.
Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to some puzzling interpersonal features of AN. © 2012 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013)

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Available from: Kevin S. LaBar, Sep 29, 2014
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    • "Individuals with autism spectrum disorder have been found to show poorer emotion perception of biological motion stimuli (Parron et al., 2008), as have individuals with schizophrenia (Couture et al., 2010). When presented with happy, sad, afraid, angry and neutral biological motion stimuli, individuals currently ill with AN have been found to display poorer identification of sad stimuli, whereas individuals weight recovered from AN were not found to differ from healthy individuals in emotion identification (Zucker et al., 2013). In another biological motion study in eating disorders, Vocks, Legenbauer, Rüddel and Troje (2007) asked participants with bulimia nervosa (BN) and HCs to adjust biological motion stimuli to indicate their actual, felt and ideal body dimensions. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a psychiatric condition characterised by a distortion of body image. However, whether individuals with AN can accurately perceive the size of other individuals' bodies is unclear. Method: In the current study, 24 women with AN and 24 healthy control participants undertook two biological motion tasks while eyetracking was performed: to identify the gender and to indicate the walkers' body size. Results: Anorexia nervosa participants tended to 'hyperscan' stimuli but did not demonstrate differences in how visual attention was directed to different body areas, relative to controls. Groups also did not differ in their estimation of body size. Discussion: The hyperscanning behaviours suggest increased anxiety to disorder-relevant stimuli in AN. The lack of group difference in the estimation of body size suggests that the AN group was able to judge the body size of others accurately. The findings are discussed in terms of body image distortion specific to oneself in AN. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
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    • "Our result is in accordance with some earlier findings (Medina-Pradas et al., 2012; Mendlewicz et al., 2005), which highlighted that both groups had similar abilities in decoding negative, positive and neutral emotions at the RMET. On the other hand, other studies showed difficulties in women with AN with recognising and describing specific emotions compared to controls: negative (Kucharska-Pietura et al., 2003; Zucker et al., 2013), both negative and neutral (Pollatos et al., 2008) or both positive and negative (Oldershaw et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: The present study aimed to investigate mindreading abilities in female adolescent patients with AN compared to healthy controls (HCs), analysing differences for emotional valence of facial stimuli. Methods: The Eating Disorder Inventory) for evaluating psychological traits associated with eating disorders and the Children's version of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test for evaluating mindreading abilities were administered to 40 Italian female patients (mean age = 14.93; SD = 1.48) with restrictive diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (AN) and 40 healthy females (mean age = 14.88; SD = 0.56). Results: No significant differences between the AN group and HCs for the Eyes Total score were found. Even when analysing emotional valence of the items, the two groups were equally successful in the facial recognition of positive, negative and neutral emotions. A significant difference was revealed for the percentage of correct responses of item 10 and item 15, where the AN group was less able to correctly identify the target descriptor (Not believing) over the foils than HCs. A significant difference was revealed in discriminating for affective emotions versus cognitive states; only for affective but not for cognitive states, patients with AN were found to perform better than controls on the mindreading task. Conclusions: Our study highlighted the importance of analysing and discriminating for different valences of facial stimuli when assessing mindreading abilities in adolescents with AN, so that more precise and specific treatment approaches could be developed for female adolescents with AN.
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    • "In contrast, people with BN have little or no impairment in facial emotion recognition [52], and may be better than healthy controls at recognizing negative emotions [53]. In AN, interpreting emotional meaning from the voice [54,55], body movement [56] and from films [54] is also impaired. For the most part, these impairments are less marked after recovery, suggesting that they may be starvation, state effects. "
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