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Emotion Recognition in Face and Body Motion in Bulimia Nervosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean eating disorders review : the journal of the Eating Disorders Association
Early online date29 Sep 2017
Accepted/In press21 Aug 2017
E-pub ahead of print29 Sep 2017


King's Authors


Social cognition has been studied extensively in anorexia nervosa (AN), but there are few studies in bulimia nervosa (BN). This study investigated the ability of people with BN to recognise emotions in ambiguous facial expressions and in body movement. Participants were 26 women with BN, who were compared with 35 with AN, and 42 healthy controls. Participants completed an emotion recognition task by using faces portraying blended emotions, along with a body emotion recognition task by using videos of point-light walkers. The results indicated that BN participants exhibited difficulties recognising disgust in less-ambiguous facial expressions, and a tendency to interpret non-angry faces as anger, compared with healthy controls. These difficulties were similar to those found in AN. There were no significant differences amongst the groups in body motion emotion recognition. The findings suggest that difficulties with disgust and anger recognition in facial expressions may be shared transdiagnostically in people with eating disorders.

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