The Analysis of Selective Information Processing and Neuropsychological Functioning in Individuals At-Risk for Eating Disorders: The Use of a Pictorial Adaptation to the Stroop Paradigm, Using Print Media Advertisements
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
There is evidence that women with bulimic symptoms are characteristically impulsive and have difficulty inhibiting various behaviors. Neuropsychological profiles of women with bulimic symptoms show patterns of impulsivity, inefficient problem solving ability, and an inability to inhibit irrelevant information. Women with bulimic symptoms also express substantially greater acceptance and internalization of sociocultural mores of thinness, and are more vulnerable to negative influence from laboratory exposure to stimuli representing “thin ideal” stereotypes. The present study examined a possible common link between the characterological and neuropsychological features of women with bulimic symptoms and their susceptibility to negative influence from mass media representations of “thin-ideal” female stereotypes.
A novel card-sorting Stroop paradigm using print media advertisements of “thin-ideal” female models as experimental stimuli and print advertisements of neutrally-rated home furnishings as control stimuli was designed for use in this study. Results of the modified Stroop task administration indicated that women with bulimic symptoms had more difficulty inhibiting irrelevant activated information when it exemplified “thin ideal” media stereotypes, relative to when it exemplified neutrally-rated media information. Specifically, women with bulimic symptoms demonstrated longer card sorting latencies and higher error rates while sorting thin-depicting media stimuli, while women with no or minimal bulimic symptoms did not show this same effect. Results of this study also indicated that women with bulimic symptoms demonstrated inefficient inhibition in response to the presentation of verbal information with strong semantic associations to eating disorder concerns, and in response to a battery of neuropsychological tasks designed to measure executive function.
Results of this study provide additional converging evidence suggesting that women with bulimic symptoms demonstrate inefficient inhibitory control. The application of the structure building framework (Gernsbacher, 1990) is proposed as a possible explanation of this pattern of inefficient inhibition. Specifically, it is suggested that defective suppression (the inability to inhibit partially activated, irrelevant information) may be the mechanism by which women with bulimic symptoms demonstrate inefficient inhibitory control.
Lokken, Kristine L., "The Analysis of Selective Information Processing and Neuropsychological Functioning in Individuals At-Risk for Eating Disorders: The Use of a Pictorial Adaptation to the Stroop Paradigm, Using Print Media Advertisements" (2001). Theses and Dissertations. 914.