Attentional Bias to Body- and Sexually-Relevant Stimuli


CALL: 2013

DOMAIN: ID - Humanities and Social Sciences

FIRST NAME: Agnieszka

LAST NAME: Czeluscinska-Peczkowska



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: body image dissatisfaction, sexual dysfunction, attentional bias, modified dot-probe task, attentional bias training

START: 2014-03-01

END: 2019-01-18


Submitted Abstract

Sexual dysfunctions and body image dissatisfaction in women have reached significant levels, with prevalence rates being currently estimated at 50% and 38%, respectively. The potential societal and health costs are considerable, as a negative body image is considered a high risk factor for the development and maintenance of eating disorders, and sexual dysfunctions can negatively impact overall well-being. Furthermore, negative attitudes toward one’s body may lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment when the body is exposed during sexual activities. The distracting function of body image dissatisfaction is suggested to play a mediating role in the development of sexual problems, such as avoidance of sexual contacts and dissatisfaction with sexual life. Previous research has separately examined body image dissatisfaction and sexual functioning but research linking these two areas is missing. The present proposal aims to fill this gap by directly contrasting stimuli related to body image dissatisfaction (images of the own body) with erotic stimuli while investigating participants with various levels of body and sexual dissatisfaction. Correlational (measurements of attentional biases using eye tracking and dot-probe methodologies) and experimental approaches (manipulating body dysfunction using attentional bias induction) will be complemented by psychophysiological measures of sexual arousal to gain insight into mediation and causality of the distraction hypothesis at the interface of body dissatisfaction and sexuality. Not only would experimental investigations provide the basis for a better understanding of the links between negative body image and sexual dysfunction; the expected results of the present project would also enable the further development of prevention and treatment approaches in this area. As body image is thought to play a crucial role in female sexual functioning, it is mandatory to explore the possibility of including attentional bias training in the multidisciplinary treatment of sexual dysfunctions.

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