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thebelsnickle1991 t1_j4b61su wrote


Body dissatisfaction is defined as the negative subjective evaluation of one’s body and is considered a risk factor for, and symptom of, eating disorders. Some studies show women with high body dissatisfaction display an attentional bias towards low weight bodies; however, this finding is not consistent, and results are yet to be systematically synthesised. We conducted a qualitative and quantitative synthesis of cross-sectional studies investigating the relationship between body dissatisfaction and attentional bias to low weight bodies in non-clinical samples of women. We searched PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, ProQuest, and OpenGrey for studies up until September 2022. We identified 34 eligible studies involving a total of 2857 women. A meta-analysis of 26 studies (75 effects) found some evidence from gaze tracking studies for a positive association between body dissatisfaction and attentional bias to low weight bodies. We found no evidence for an association from studies measuring attention using the dot probe task, electroencephalogram (EEG) recording, or the modified spatial cueing task. The results together provide partial support for the positive association between body dissatisfaction and attentional bias to low weight bodies in women. These findings can be used to inform future attentional bias research.

Original source


imaginexus t1_j4b79rs wrote

So women who wanted to be thin liked admiring women with thinner bodies. Is this the most obvious study ever?


giuliomagnifico OP t1_j4b7ljs wrote

> Thea House, the study’s lead author and a PhD student at the University of Bristol and Macquarie University, explains: “Body dissatisfaction is a risk factor for eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and purging disorder. It is also a key diagnostic symptom of anorexia nervosa. Women experiencing body dissatisfaction may be worsening it by spending more time looking at thinner body sizes.

>“Our findings have implications for the prevention and treatment of eating disorders and suggest that interventions such as attention training tasks, which have been used to improve symptoms of anxiety, could be adapted to treat symptoms of eating disorders by shifting attention away from thin body sizes. These types of task can be completed on a home computer, so they have potential to be a practical and cost-effective treatment option for people with these disorders.”


Billbat1 t1_j4bgkds wrote

the phrase low body dissatisfaction seems like a double negative. high body satisfaction seems clearer.


Divers_Alarums t1_j4bt836 wrote

If you’re fat and want to be thinner, you’re going to pay more attention to the skinny people you see. Gosh. Who’da thunk.


elzzzbeth t1_j4c9s9a wrote

Every time an article that’s less shocking gets posted, the comment section is full of complaints about how obvious the findings are, how it’s pointless research, etc. Please remember that even the more apparent stuff is super important. We need this kind of evidence to support additional research, assessments, and treatment. We can’t just base these things off of our hunches.


lookmeat t1_j4cfkee wrote

These are the same people who argue that almost everything is discovered but "accident". 90% of "accidental" discoveries I hear about is some scientist testing the assumed "obvious" case, and discovering it was actually wrong.

Some of the most revolutionary science discovery comes from research validating (and failing to) the "obvious" assumption.

And what does it add to say it's obvious? That we get to post ourselves in the back and say "I'm not a researcher doubt the actual work, but at least I knew that already"?


mountingsuspicion t1_j4cge35 wrote

Being dissatisfied with something and being satisfied with something may be on opposite sides of a spectrum, but the questions you would ask if you're focusing on one end of the spectrum versus the entire spectrum are different. If you were to ask, how satisfied are you with your body? That would span the whole scale, but if instead you were asking questions like "agree or disagree to the following statement" and that statement is "I often wish I was thinner" then, disagreeing with that statement would not necessarily indicate that you were satisfied with the way you looked, just that you were not actively dissatisfied. I don't know the particulars of the study, but often times what is considered "confusing" is more aptly attributed to attempting to accurately convey concepts using specificity that may not be required in normal speech.


hellfae t1_j4co4ky wrote

Interesting. I have a mother diagnosed with npd/bipolar, growing up she stared at my body a LOT which is also common with npd.


ThrowawayHotdog492 t1_j4cq8hh wrote


People who don’t like their body look at others for x reason ( e.g. jealous, comparison, examination ?). Whatever the reason it wasn’t something that warranted study because…. Realistically, personal stuff like this (prettiness, ugly, attractive , etc.) only applies to the small test group.

Basically the problem is, is that this info is pretty much useless because you would need a huge RELIABLE sample size ( e.g. eye tracker to see where someone looks immediately), has probably been tested dozens just nothing official or in this capacity and ultimately…. Probably could have been done as a High School senior level Psyche 1 presentation.

I say this as guy who likes data, analyzing results and fucks with my family by running little harmless experiments on them (moving things to see reactions, “hidden” stuff, how long until someone does x if I leave it y way)


Loggerdon t1_j4cvu8n wrote

They are called the "Stinkeye Research Team".


Tactical-Lesbian t1_j4cwylc wrote

At least the headline is accurate in the presumption that women are never satisfied. XD


StrangeCharmVote t1_j4czeii wrote

Personally having not read the link, could you tl;dr how the split in sample size was determined...

By which i mean, if joining the study is voluntary, how do we know the people doing so will 'randomly' be in one group or the other, and is the value self reported?


NotReallyHere01 t1_j4d0dsy wrote

I only skimmed it myself. But it's a meta-analysis of 34 other published studies, so the sampling methods would be found in each of those respective studies.

I was just confused as to why there was criticisms of the sample size (almost 3000 is usually considered decently representative so long as it's properly randomised as you highlight) and the methods (which specifically included gaze tracking). Not here to argue over anything other than those specific criticisms, both of which are answered in the first few paragraphs of the article.


GoodGoodGoody t1_j4d0r83 wrote

Sometimes people hate things that are different just because they are different, or they know thin and fit is conventionally more attractive and they hate that fact without wanting to be thin or fit.

You do realize this is r/science and it’s ok to think of more than one possibility.


StrangeCharmVote t1_j4d3743 wrote

Fair enough just thought i'd ask, as i can see at some level what the commenter may be getting at.

Also if it's a meta analysis of so many studies, wouldn't that mean each of the others on average had less than 100 participants? And that the studies must have been testing for, selecting, and accounting for different and more narrow kinds of results?

Anyways, doesn't matter. At some stage opening and reading the link would be required on my part i guess :P


NotReallyHere01 t1_j4d45d7 wrote

You're not wrong. And this isn't bulletproof. But small n studies are often needed on a particular subject in it's academic infancy almost like a proof of concept. A meta analysis like this helps expand or elucidate things that small n studies can't. They can all then be used to pitch for funding for the larger, more representative, more comprehensive studies.

In that framework, I see it as still very useful science, even if it's not entirely settled.


Ammear t1_j4d7zc5 wrote

Yeah, sometimes they do. Rarely, but possibly sometimes. I realise where I'm commenting, I also realise that your analysis is unlikely.

And one of the things you mentioned is pretty much exactly what envy is. The thing that's probably more likely than "I don't like thin people for the sake of them being different", which is a very poor argument in general.

If you eye someone and think you hate them, because they are conventionally better looking than you, that's pretty much the definition of envy/jealousy. Healthy (in terms of self-esteem) people over conventionally normal weight don't hate others because of their weight.


zugtug t1_j4dopkv wrote

I guess I don't understand your point. You said they are looking with hatred which implies jealousy, not envy. You didn't say they were looking longingly or with covetousness. What would be the root of hatred towards that thin person that wasn't rooted in jealously? Just randomly mad at someone because they are thin but not at all related to something that thin person enjoys that they don't?


The_Norfolkian t1_j4dqbsq wrote

There’s so much pressure in the academic community to ‘get published’ as a rite of passage and for maintaining ‘relevancy’ in one’s community, so it’s no surprise actual studies set out to confirm obvious truisms as a means to an end.


dimmu1313 t1_j4dtbbr wrote

As a male with high body dissatisfaction, I also direct my gaze more frequently towards low weight female body stimuli.


lonewulf66 t1_j4e5eny wrote

Women who want to be skinny looked at skinny women more often than usual. /research.


nogoodimthanks t1_j4e7cs5 wrote

Especially for women. There’s NO research out there about us, like not a smaller man, not a man with internal testicles, about women’s bodies and experiences so just let the research catch up. I mean damn, there’s enough science for everyone!


Snookn42 t1_j4ehc6s wrote

For the life of me I cannot understand why these types of studies make it on the front page of Reddit and it r/science.... cause this aint it.


Snookn42 t1_j4ehkaq wrote

Im sorry but this is low hanging fruit designed to keep the grant money flowing for lazy psychologists who would rather write papers to get picked up by click bait news sites, than to do any actual research into human nature.


commentaror t1_j4ejgb6 wrote

I’m a woman that admire a good looking woman’s body and will direct my gaze with longer duration. Doesn’t mean I’m dissatisfied with my own body!


katarh t1_j4eqd5o wrote

There's a subjective interpretation of a good looking body at play here, too.

I find women who are extremely skinny to be..... not that pleasant to look at, myself. Don't like seeing ribcages and hip bones poking out.

But a gal with a six pack, a butt that squats, and arms that look capable of pull ups? Yeah, I'll probably look at her a bit longer than the super skinny ones.

I am dissatisfied with my own body, but I also want my body to be fit and curvy, not thin enough to look like Twiggy.


you_need_nuance t1_j4eujhp wrote

Dissatisfaction is a different headspace compared to satisfaction. If the study was built around dissatisfaction you can’t just reverse it and say it’s true. Double negatives are necessary sometimes to actually be clearer.


therapy_is t1_j4f1c7k wrote

so... women want to look good. surprise


lemoncats1 t1_j4f856y wrote

Having adhd, one of the most common things I heard is people assigning various things ( you use duo monitor so you are forgetful/ you eat sweet foods so you are forgetful etc). All outright doesn’t want to admit it’s adhd that it’s insane . Just because what’s on your observation doesn’t means it’s real


SheWolf04 t1_j4fpf0r wrote

As a bisexual lady-type-person, there are other, non-weight related reasons I look at certain other ladies.


PapaJohnyRoad t1_j4fzxtk wrote

Good looking women like to look at other good looking women?


entropymanaged t1_j4gpxq9 wrote

Sooooo…. Women who do t like their bodies are more interested in weight loss than women who do? It’s sad that our taxes fund such ridiculous studies


WildWook t1_j4h2jmc wrote

That's because obesity is unattractive to most people.


crackedrogue6 t1_j4hyqek wrote

What was your takeaway? Mine was similar to the comment you responded to, so I’m curious to hear a different perspective. :)

Rather, mine was, it could cause negative emotions when looking at thinner bodies if someone had high body dissatisfaction