Perception of affect in biological motion cues in anorexia nervosa

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APA Citation: 

Zucker, N., Moskovich, A., Bulik, C. M., Merwin, R., Gaddis, K., Losh, M., ... & LaBar, K. S. (2013). Perception of affect in biological motion cues in anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46(1), 12-22.

Publication Topic: 
ACT: Empirical
Behavior Analysis: Empirical
Publication Type: 
anorexia nervosa;eating disorders;social cognition;social perception;motion perception

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.

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