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Self-focused attention enhances tactile sensitivity in women at risk from eating disorders

Sacchetti, S, Mirams, LR, McGlone, FP and Cazzato, V (2020) Self-focused attention enhances tactile sensitivity in women at risk from eating disorders. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). ISSN 2045-2322

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We examined whether alterations in body perception in EDs extend to the integration of exteroceptive visual and tactile information. Moreover, we investigated the effect of self-focused attention on the ability to correctly detect tactile stimuli. Twenty-seven women reporting low ED symptoms, versus 26 women reporting high ED symptoms, undertook a modified version of the Somatic Signal Detection Task (SSDT), which involved detecting tactile stimuli on the cheek in the presence or absence of a concomitant light. The SSDT was completed while looking at a photograph of one’s own face, another female face, and a scrambled face. Heart rate and skin conductance were recorded continuously during the SSDT. Although ED symptoms were not associated with an overall increased tendency to misperceive touch in the presence of a light, High ED participants were differentially affected by self-focused attention. For the High ED group, physiological arousal, and tactile sensitivity (d′) were increased when self-focused attention was augmented. For the Low ED group, sensitivity (d′) and physiological arousal were higher in the control conditions. We suggest that in those with High ED symptoms, attention to the bodily self may exacerbate a predisposition to focusing on external rather than internal bodily information.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 14:43
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 06:59
DOI or ID number: 10.1038/s41598-020-68500-6
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13310
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