Sustained hypervigilance for one’s own body in women with weight and shape concerns: competition effects in early visual processing investigated by steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP)

Mona M. Voges* (Corresponding Author), Claire-Marie Giabbiconi, Thomas Gruber, Søren K. Andersen, Andrea S. Hartmann, Silja Vocks

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study aimed to analyze the covert attentional time course in early body processing areas in women with high body concerns. Therefore, we assessed the effect of pictures of one’s own body and other bodies as distractions from a demanding dot detection task in 24 women with low and 20 women with high body concerns. Participants were instructed to attend to flickering dots eliciting steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEP) measured by EEG. Both groups showed a sustained SSVEP amplitude reduction, which was more pronounced for average-weight or thin bodies than for overweight bodies. For women with high body concerns, SSVEP amplitudes decreased more in the case of pictures of their own body. The results indicate covert vigilance and maintenance patterns for body stimuli, especially for bodies representing the thin ideal. Moreover, women with high body concerns attend more to information about their own body, which might maintain body dissatisfaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-84
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychology
Early online date22 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019



  • steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP)
  • body concerns
  • attentional bias
  • body processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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