Skip to main content

Table 2 Summary of physiological responses to body stimuli

From: Physiological, emotional and neural responses to visual stimuli in eating disorders: a review

  Participants Stimuli Physiological outcome Result of body shape stimuli
Oretga- Roldan et al. 2014 [36] • 30 females with BN
• 30 HC
• Image of own body
• Startle noise
• Startle reflex
• ECG
• SCR
• Increased skin conductance response in BN > HC
• Decreased startle reflex in those with BN > HC
Friederich et al. 2006 [27] • 15 AN female
• 15 BN female
• 30 HC
• Food images
• Body images
• Positive images
• Neutral images
• Aversive images
• Startle blink response • No startle reflex potentiation of body > neutral in either BN or AN
Herbert et al. 2013 [37] • 35 healthy females screened for ED risk • Body words
• Neutral words
• Startle blink response
• HR
• No difference in startle modulation between body and neutral words
• HR differed significantly between body and neutral words
• Correlation between women with high body dissatisfaction and increased startle response to body > neutral words
Spresser et al. 2012 [38] • 53 females who took the eating disorder inventory • Picture of participants own face altered to different levels of weight gain • Startle blink response • Startle responses to self-image predicted more variance in drive for thinness and body dissatisfaction scores
Vocks et al. 2007 [39] • 28 female HC
• 7 females with BN
• 5 females with AN
• 9 females with EDNOS
• Viewing own body image in a mirror • HR
• SCR
• Increase in SCR when viewing own body image in both HC and ED group
Overduin et al. 1997 [33] • 11 female restrained eaters
• 13 female controls
• Neutral images
• Food images
• Image of own Body
• SCR
• HR
• Startle reflex
• Facial EMG
• No difference in EMG or startle reflex for body shape image
• Increased SCR recovery time to body shape seen in both restrained and unrestrained eaters
• Increased heart rate acceleration to body image in both restrained and unrestrained eaters
Forghieri et al. 2016 [40] • 18 female HC
• 10 females with AN
• 3 females with BN
• 4 females with EDNOS
• Neutral image
• Looking at a mirror
• Image of participants thin ideal body image
• Static posturography • Increased body sway in ED group > HC when viewing own body image and ideal body image
• Increased body sway for own body image and ideal > neutral image
\