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Title: Malleability of body image : how looking at other people affects perception of our own body
Author: Ambroziak, Klaudia Berenika
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 8999
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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Visual exposure to very thin or very fat bodies has been shown to influence how people perceive the size and shape of their own body. This thesis aims to contribute to answering the question whether short-term effects of this exposure can constitute an experimental model for the long-term effects of media influences on representation of own body, i.e. body image. First, my results showed no evidence that exposure to other bodies affects perception of one's own body size in a self-specific way. There was, however, an effect on general perception of bodies, e.g. after viewing very thin images, participants judged subsequently presented bodies as fatter than pre-exposure, replicating previous findings. Furthermore, I found similar effects in face perception after exposure to thin faces, which has not been reported before. Moreover, I showed that exposure to individual body parts, i.e. thin or fat faces and hands, can induce analogous changes in perception of entire bodies. I found no effect of visual exposure to another person's hand on perception of tactile distances, suggesting that visual exposure to other bodies does not affect the model of body size underlying the perception of touch on the skin. I showed, however, that haptic exploration of a thin body affects visual perception of bodies, suggesting that body size cues from a different modality can induce changes in visual perception of bodies. Taken together, these results suggest that perceptual biases in body size perception operate on higher-level of processing. In my second line of research, I investigated distal biases in localization of the knuckles on the palm of the hand, showing that such mislocalisations do not rely on any specific sensory modality but rather reflect a conceptual misrepresentation of hand structure. Further, I showed that participants updated their conceptual representation of the hand after visual inspection.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available