Inverted face processing in body dysmorphic disorder.

TitleInverted face processing in body dysmorphic disorder.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsFeusner, JD, Moller H, Altstein L, Sugar C, Bookheimer S, Yoon J, Hembacher E
JournalJournal of psychiatric research
Date Published2010 Nov
KeywordsAdult, Body Dysmorphic Disorders, Case-Control Studies, Face, Female, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation, Reaction Time, Time Factors, Young Adult

Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are preoccupied with perceived defects in appearance. Preliminary evidence suggests abnormalities in global and local visual information processing. The objective of this study was to compare global and local processing in BDD subjects and healthy controls by testing the face inversion effect, in which inverted (upside-down) faces are recognized more slowly and less accurately relative to upright faces. Eighteen medication-free subjects with BDD and 17 matched, healthy controls performed a recognition task with sets of upright and inverted faces on a computer screen that were either presented for short duration (500 ms) or long duration (5000 ms). Response time and accuracy rates were analyzed using linear and logistic mixed effects models, respectively. Results indicated that the inversion effect for response time was smaller in BDD subjects than controls during the long duration stimuli, but was not significantly different during the short duration stimuli. Inversion effect on accuracy rates did not differ significantly between groups during either of the two durations. Lesser inversion effect in BDD subjects may be due to greater detail-oriented and piecemeal processing for long duration stimuli. Similar results between groups for short duration stimuli suggest that they may be normally engaging configural and holistic processing for brief presentations. Abnormal visual information processing in BDD may contribute to distorted perception of appearance; this may not be limited to their own faces, but to others' faces as well.

Alternate JournalJ Psychiatr Res