People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) have an obsession relating to their body image, where they believe that they have a defect in their appearance.
BDD is estimated to affect one to two per cent of the population. Individuals with BDD engage with time-consuming compulsive behaviors such as mirror-checking, applying make-up to camouflage and seeking reassurance about their appearance.
Professor Keith Laws, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Hertfordshire said of people with BDD; "often they are attractive individuals who focus negatively on specific features of their own body, especially their face. Indeed, up to 15% of people who seek cosmetic surgery meet the criteria for a BDD diagnosis.”
But there are other interesting characteristics of people with this mental health disorder. Individuals with BDD cannot accurately detect negative facial emotions; but they have an amazing ability to recognize famous faces - if they are upside-down.
Can you recognize this face upside down too? Probably. But Individuals with BDD are more likely to identify upside-down images of famous faces as they focus on individual features rather than process them as a whole. Credit: Image courtesy of Pete Souza and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Upside-down faces are difficult for most people to identify because we are used to processing faces as a whole, and obviously the right way up. Individuals with BDD process faces in a different way because they overly-focus on the individual facial features. The researchers found that because BDD patients focus on individual facial features rather than the whole face, this aids their ability to recognize inverted famous faces. For example, they may have spent a lot of time on David Beckham’s eyes or Angelina Jolie’s lips. By contrast, they have difficulty recognizing negative and threatening facial expressions as different because they may imagine that most other people are looking at them as critically as they view themselves.
Laws and colleagues are now looking at whether the super-recognizer abilities of BDD patients may act as a marker for the disorder and whether this advantage exists to a milder form in the relatives of those with BDD.
To be published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Erupting Bardarbunga Volcano In Iceland Sits On A Massive Magma Hot Spot
- Genetically Modified Stem Cells Kill Brain Tumors
- Researchers Created A Laser Bullet To See What It Would Look Like - And Here It Is
- How Gut Bacteria Ensure A Healthy Brain – and Could Play A Role In Treating Depression
- Ebola's Evolutionary Roots Are Ancient
- We're Too Late To Prevent 137,000 More Ebola Cases, Says Epidemiology Paper
- ECFA Workshop: Planning For The High Luminosity LHC
- "Hi Dhrou,of course the HL-LHC lumi leveling is different from the LHCb one - a glance at the plot..."
- "Sorry but a ridiculous test made by an anonymous source does not even qualify to be discussed here..."
- "/* Science advances as much by mistakes as by plans. */ Apparently the mainstream physicists are..."
- "Part of being a theorist in any subfield is trying to explain the results that we have in hand..."
- "This essay interested me immensely. My father claimed to be an 'atheist' all his life but..."
- How to sell a toxic pesticide the smart way–call it organic
- Leftist dystopia? Anti-technology fever animates opposition to GMOs and other ‘disruptive’ technologies
- CDC faced a nearly impossible balancing act with Ebola, and failed
- Why Chobani reversed course, making yoghurt only from milk from cows not fed GMO grain
- Monterey, California, hotbed of anti-GMO activism, home to new GMO corn farm
- Evolution is sometimes messy or even outright ridiculous