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Implicit body representations and the conscious body image

Longo, Matthew R. and Haggard, P. (2012) Implicit body representations and the conscious body image. Acta Psychologica 141 (2), pp. 164-168. ISSN 0001-6918.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.07.015

Abstract

Recent studies have revealed that somatosensory processing relies on a class of implicit body representations showing large distortions of size and shape. The relation between these representations and the conscious body image remains unclear. Dissociations have been reported in the clinical literature on eating disorders between different body image measures, with larger and more consistent distortions found with depictive measures, in which participants compare their body to a visual depiction of a body, than metric measures, in which participants compare their body to some non-body standard. Here, we compared implicit body representations underlying position sense to the body image measured with both depictive and metric methods. The body image was measured using both a depictive method (template matching) in which participants judged whether their hand was wider or more slender than a shown hand picture, and a metric method (line length) in which participants judged whether different parts of the their hand were shorter or longer than a presented line. Consistent with previous findings, characteristic distortions were found for the implicit body representation underlying position sense. These distortions were also found in attenuated form for metric – but not depictive – body image measures. While replicating the basic dissociation between implicit body representations and the conscious body image, these results demonstrate that this dissociation is not absolute and specific tasks may utilise both to varying degrees depending on task demands. Metric measures may not be pure measures of body image, but some combination of visual and somatosensory body representations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Acta Psychologica. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version will be subsequently published in Acta Psychologica (citation details to follow).
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Body image, Body representation, Hand, Somatosensation
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Matthew R Longo
Date Deposited: 01 Aug 2012 11:02
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:33
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5015

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