Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the ugliest of them all? The psychopathology of mirror gazing in body dysmorphic disorder - Veale, D. and Riley, S. (2001)
What parts of your body don't you like? Almost everyone will be able to answer that question, some of them will have long lists! Do you ever find that part of your body catching your attention more than other parts? Do you ever find yourself staring at it in the mirror? For some people with body dysmorphic disorder, dislike of parts of themselves can become an all-consuming and devastating obsession... and mirrors are often the place where the obsession takes over.
The original research paper can be read here.
A summary and brief evaluation of the study can be read here.
Test your knowledge with this quizlet and this classtools arcade game.
Veale and Riley collected a large number of results, including:
Some of these effects combine into compound effects.
You should be able be able to give details of at least four of these results (explaining if any difference was found compared to the control and what these differences show).
Dove's 'real beauty' sketches advert became the most watched advert in YouTube history within one month of it's release! It plays on the idea that we all have a degree of BDD.
BUT... is the advert valid? Read this article which questions the procedure used by Dove as being ethnocentrically biased, open to demand characteristics (the artist knew the aim, so is likely to have produced pictures accordingly), amongst other problems. You see - psychological terms can be used to evaluate everyday life as well!
You might also enjoy the parody male version...
Big Issue - Generalisations
Whether a study can be generalised or not refers to how confident we are that the results will represent the target population as a whole.
If a study is generalisable, then we are confident that the results achieved with the sample used are similar to the results we would obtain in real life, with other people.
Generalisable studies will have some or all of:
Alternative Study - Veale and Riley as a field experiment/observational study?
Veale and Riley collected self-report data from participants about their behaviour in front of a mirror. An alternative way to collect this data would be to use a field experiment (or an observational study, or both!).
1. Describe the observational study as a research method in Psychology. (5)
2. How could they have performed a study with similar aims, but as an observational study?
Write a description of the study, including the who, what, where and how. (10)
3. What would the advantages and disadvantages of such an experiment be, compared to the original?
Evaluate this new study in methodological and ethical terms. (10)
Assignment 1 - You are the examiner
A past exam question focused on and alternative design for Veale and Riley's study. Read the answer in the document below, and mark it using the mark scheme which can be found here. For each question, write a mark and a brief justification for why you've give that mark. Submit your marks through the form on the home page.
Revision Assignment - Create a Veale and Riley revision podcast or video
Podcasts are a great way to revise, and by making them yourself you are interacting with the material twice, so it will be twice as effective! Podcasts are easy to make using itunes, or there are other options here. If you prefer, you can upload a video to YouTube.
Email me the link of your podcast/video. The best ones will be embedded in the website.
An interesting more recent development of research into BDD is the use of brain scanning to investigate the condition. This article describes research into BDD using brain imaging, as well as outlining cognitive treatments.