Human brain distorts body image, experts say

Findings could help explain conditions like anorexia

People tend to think that their hands are wider, and fingers shorter, than they actually are, which could be related to how the brain receives information from different parts of the body, scientists from the University of College London report. This distorted perception could lead to body image problems in some people, the BBC reports. “These findings may well be relevant to psychiatric conditions involving body image such as anorexia nervosa, as there may be a general bias towards perceiving the body to be wider than it is,” said lead researcher Dr. Matthew Longo. “Our results show dramatic distortions of hand shape, which were highly consistent across participants.” In the study, volunteers put their left hands palm down under a board and were asked to judge where their covered knuckles and fingers were, using a pointer. Subconscious distortions meant they thought their hands were wider, and fingers shorter, than they were.

BBC News