Effect of manipulating facial attractiveness judgements on the experience of intrusive thoughts in high facial appearance concern individuals

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Abstract

Elevated facial appearance concern is characterised by highly frequent and distressing intrusive thoughts about appearance. Recent evidence suggests that enhanced readiness to make attractive (rather than unattractive) judgements of one's own and others' faces is associated with reduced experiencing of intrusive thoughts in high facial appearance concern individuals. The current study sought to experimentally evaluate the causal nature of this relationship. Females with high facial appearance concern (N = 123) completed the novel Judgement Dimension Manipulation (JDM) under conditions that required making ‘attractive’ judgments (i.e., only attractive faces were judged in terms of their attractiveness) or ‘unattractive’ judgments (i.e., only unattractive faces were judged in terms of their attractiveness). Prior to, and following the manipulation, participants completed a measure of intrusion frequency. Results revealed that the JDM was effective in inducing differential facial attractiveness judgements across the two groups and that this, in turn, impacted on intrusion frequency. Specifically, participants that were instructed to make ‘attractive’ judgments exhibited reduced intrusion frequency. These findings suggest that making attractive judgements of one's own and others' faces causally impacts on the experience of appearance-related intrusive thoughts and implicate that targeting this process may have potential therapeutic value.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104184
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume158
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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