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Body appearance values modulate risk aversion in eating restriction

Jenkinson, P. M. ORCID:, Koukoutsakis, A., Panagiotopoulou, E., Vagnoni, E., Demartini, B., Nistico, V., Gambini, O., Christakou, A. ORCID: and Fotopoulou, A. (2023) Body appearance values modulate risk aversion in eating restriction. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 152 (12). pp. 3418-3432. ISSN 1939-2222

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1037/xge0001445


The understanding of eating disorders is hindered by the lack of integration between existing psychosocial and neurobiological approaches. We address this problem by developing a novel transdiagnostic and computational approach to eating restriction decisions. We first validated a novel paradigm which extends an established monetary risk task to involve body stimuli with psychosocial values. We used advanced behavioral data analysis of a large (total N = 539) sample of women from across the eating restraint spectrum, including those with anorexia nervosa (AN; n = 31), recovered from AN (n = 23), and subclinical women with varying levels of eating restraint (n = 485), obtained from an online experiment, public event, and laboratory-based study. We found that social and motivational values regarding body appearance have a significant effect on value-based, decision making in eating restriction. Subsequently, validated descriptive and predictive advanced computational modeling indicated that these behaviors are driven by an aversion to risk rather than loss, with desirable body outcomes being associated with less risk aversion, and undesirable body outcomes linked to greater risk aversion. These findings indicate that cognitive and social factors influence eating decisions by distinct mechanisms.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
ID Code:113511
Publisher:American Psychological Association


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