Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/3500
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: BMI Not WHR Modulates BOLD fMRI Responses in a Sub-Cortical Reward Network When Participants Judge the Attractiveness of Human Female Bodies
Authors: Holliday, Ian E
Longe, Olivia A
Thai, N Jade
Hancock, Peter J B
Tovee, Martin J
Contact Email: pjbh1@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Waist Hip Ratio
Body Mass Index
Body attractiveness
Issue Date: 15-Nov-2011
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: Holliday IE, Longe OA, Thai NJ, Hancock PJB & Tovee MJ (2011) BMI Not WHR Modulates BOLD fMRI Responses in a Sub-Cortical Reward Network When Participants Judge the Attractiveness of Human Female Bodies, PLoS ONE, 6 (11).
Abstract: In perceptual terms, the human body is a complex 3d shape which has to be interpreted by the observer to judge its attractiveness. Both body mass and shape have been suggested as strong predictors of female attractiveness. Normally body mass and shape co-vary, and it is difficult to differentiate their separate effects. A recent study suggested that altering body mass does not modulate activity in the reward mechanisms of the brain, but shape does. However, using computer generated female body-shaped greyscale images, based on a Principal Component Analysis of female bodies, we were able to construct images which covary with real female body mass (indexed with BMI) and not with body shape (indexed with WHR), and vice versa. Twelve observers (6 male and 6 female) rated these images for attractiveness during an fMRI study. The attractiveness ratings were correlated with changes in BMI and not WHR. Our primary fMRI results demonstrated that in addition to activation in higher visual areas (such as the extrastriate body area), changing BMI also modulated activity in the caudate nucleus, and other parts of the brain reward system. This shows that BMI, not WHR, modulates reward mechanisms in the brain and we infer that this may have important implications for judgements of ideal body size in eating disordered individuals.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/3500
URL: http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0027255
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027255
Rights: Copyright: © 2011 Holliday et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/; Citation: Holliday IE, Longe OA, Thai NJ, Hancock PJB, Tovée MJ (2011) BMI Not WHR Modulates BOLD fMRI Responses in a Sub-Cortical Reward Network When Participants Judge the Attractiveness of Human Female Bodies. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27255. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027255
Affiliation: Aston University
Aston University
Aston University
Psychology
Newcastle University

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