Psychological Medicine

Research Article

The stability of perceptual disturbances in anorexia nervosa

Paul E. Garfinkela1 c1, Harvey Moldofskya1 and David M. Garnera1

a1 Psychosomatic Medicine Unit, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, Toronto, Canada


Patients with anorexia nervosa have previously been shown to display disturbances in visual self-perception and interoception. In the present investigation we wished to determine the stability of these disturbances and the effects of weight gain on them. We studied 29 females, 16 patients with primary anorexia nervosa and 13 controls, who had also been studied one year previously. Each subject took part in investigations of body image, using a distorting photograph technique, and interoception, using a satiety aversion to sucrose test. We found that some anorexic subjects tend to overestimate body size and have an absence of aversion to repeated sucrose tastes. Moreover, these disturbances were stable over the year and were not affected by weight change.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr Paul E. Garfinkel, Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, 250 College Street, Toronto, Canada M5T 1R8.