Body size estimation of self and others in females varying in BMI. A Thaler, MN Geuss, SC Mölbert, KE Giel, S Streuber, J Romero, MJ Black, BJ Mohler.

Date: February 2018.
Source: PLOS One. 13(2): e0192152.
Abstract: Previous literature suggests that a disturbed ability to accurately identify own body size may contribute to overweight. Here, we investigated the influence of personal body size, indexed by body mass index (BMI), on body size estimation in a non-clinical population of females varying in BMI. We attempted to disentangle general biases in body size estimates and attitudinal influences by manipulating whether participants believed the body stimuli (personalized avatars with realistic weight variations) represented their own body or that of another person. Our results show that the accuracy of own body size estimation is predicted by personal BMI, such that participants with lower BMI underestimated their body size and participants with higher BMI overestimated their body size. Further, participants with higher BMI were less likely to notice the same percentage of weight gain than participants with lower BMI. Importantly, these results were only apparent when participants were judging a virtual body that was their own identity (Experiment 1), but not when they estimated the size of a body with another identity and the same underlying body shape (Experiment 2a). The different influences of BMI on accuracy of body size estimation and sensitivity to weight change for self and other identity suggests that effects of BMI on visual body size estimation are self-specific and not generalizable to other bodies.

Article: Body size estimation of self and others in females varying in BMI.
Authors: Anne Thaler, Michael N Geuss, Simone C Mölbert, Katrin E Giel, Stephan Streuber, Javier Romero, Michael J Black, Betty J Mohler. Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Tübingen, Germany.