CP Research Corner: Facial Recognition in Eating Disorders

In a recent study by Leppanen, Dapelo, Davies, Lang, Treasure, and Tchanturia (2017), it was found that there are differences in facial recognition in eating disorders. The study included individuals with anorexia (AN), individuals with bulimia (BN), individuals recovered from anorexia (RecAN), and healthy controls (HC). There were some descriptive measures of pathology as well which uncovered differences between those with EDs and healthy controls.

Facial Recognition in Eating Disorders

The focus of this study was the analysis of facial expression in eating disorders using two video clips – one inducing feelings of happiness and one inducing feelings of sadness. The differences found were between AN and both RecAN and HC, with AN showing less positive expressions than the other two groups. The difference between AN and BN approached significance, but it was not significantly different from RecAN or HC, suggesting that the emotional deficit is predominantly found in anorexia, with individuals with bulimia showing an ‘intermediate’ response pattern. Overall, this suggests that treatments for AN should include emotional processing training to try to induce more positive emotions to positive stimuli.

If you or a loved one is experiencing an eating disorder, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Columbus Park. We can help!