We aimed to investigate whether body image disturbances in Anorexia Nervosa (AN) patients manifested itself on both a visual and tactile level, and whether they were related to top-down processes associated with body attitudes rather than perceptual bottom-up processes. Ten female AN patients and 25 healthy controls participated in the study. Body attitudes were measured with the Body Shape Questionnaire. Disturbances in visual body image were assessed with a Distance Comparison Task, which measured the mental representation of spatial relations between distances on the body. A Tactile Estimation Task was employed to assess tactile body image by asking participants to estimate the distance between two tactile stimuli, simultaneously pressed to their skin. We found that indeed AN patients, relative to controls, showed an inappropriate visual and tactile body image, which indicated, respectively, that AN patients had an inaccurate visual mental image of their body, and an enlarged perception of the width of tactile stimuli. It further appeared visual and tactile body image were not related to each other, but that both were independently predicted by body attitudes
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