Cortical Reactivity and Attentional Bias during a Body Image Exposure
Master of Arts
DisciplinePsychology : Clinical
SubjectBody dissatisfaction and personality
Body image exposure
MetadataShow full item record
Photographs of one’s own body can evoke different motivational tendencies, depending on one’s own body satisfaction and narcissistic propensity. The present study had two main purposes: (1) to replicate and extend the findings from Chong (2014) in order to investigate whether the relationship between body satisfaction and frontal asymmetry is mediated by self-attentional bias, and (2) to determine whether the relationship between body satisfaction and self-attentional bias is moderated by narcissistic vulnerability. A total of 79 Lakehead University female undergraduates completed questionnaires pertaining to narcissism and body satisfaction followed by a laboratory visit to engage in a dot probe and picture-viewing task. The study failed to replicate the negative relationship between body satisfaction and frontal asymmetry, and to demonstrate the hypothesized mediating effect of attentional bias on this relationship. However, body satisfaction predicted attentional bias towards oneself among individuals high on narcissistic vulnerability. At 175 ms exposure duration during the dot probe task, greater narcissistic vulnerability predicted attentional bias towards oneself when participants had high body satisfaction relative to their low-satisfaction counterparts. An opposite pattern emerged at 500 ms exposure duration such that greater narcissistic vulnerability predicted attentional bias towards oneself when participants had low body satisfaction compared to their high-satisfaction counterparts. These observations suggest that in response to stimuli that pose a threat to self-representation, narcissistically vulnerable individuals may engage in attentional processing strategies to build and maintain their self-representation. The null findings are discussed in terms of replication concerns in psychological research, as well as limitations with the existing models of frontal asymmetry.