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      Emotional Processing of Infants Displays in Eating Disorders

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          The aim of this study is to examine emotional processing of infant displays in people with Eating Disorders (EDs).


          Social and emotional factors are implicated as causal and maintaining factors in EDs. Difficulties in emotional regulation have been mainly studied in relation to adult interactions, with less interest given to interactions with infants.


          A sample of 138 women were recruited, of which 49 suffered from Anorexia Nervosa (AN), 16 from Bulimia Nervosa (BN), and 73 were healthy controls (HCs). Attentional responses to happy and sad infant faces were tested with the visual probe detection task. Emotional identification of, and reactivity to, infant displays were measured using self-report measures. Facial expressions to video clips depicting sad, happy and frustrated infants were also recorded.


          No significant differences between groups were observed in the attentional response to infant photographs. However, there was a trend for patients to disengage from happy faces. People with EDs also reported lower positive ratings of happy infant displays and greater subjective negative reactions to sad infants. Finally, patients showed a significantly lower production of facial expressions, especially in response to the happy infant video clip. Insecure attachment was negatively correlated with positive facial expressions displayed in response to the happy infant and positively correlated with the intensity of negative emotions experienced in response to the sad infant video clip.


          People with EDs do not have marked abnormalities in their attentional processing of infant emotional faces. However, they do have a reduction in facial affect particularly in response to happy infants. Also, they report greater negative reactions to sadness, and rate positive emotions less intensively than HCs. This pattern of emotional responsivity suggests abnormalities in social reward sensitivity and might indicate new treatment targets.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: The PANAS scales.

          In recent studies of the structure of affect, positive and negative affect have consistently emerged as two dominant and relatively independent dimensions. A number of mood scales have been created to measure these factors; however, many existing measures are inadequate, showing low reliability or poor convergent or discriminant validity. To fill the need for reliable and valid Positive Affect and Negative Affect scales that are also brief and easy to administer, we developed two 10-item mood scales that comprise the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). The scales are shown to be highly internally consistent, largely uncorrelated, and stable at appropriate levels over a 2-month time period. Normative data and factorial and external evidence of convergent and discriminant validity for the scales are also presented.
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            A power primer.

             Jacob Cohen (1992)
            One possible reason for the continued neglect of statistical power analysis in research in the behavioral sciences is the inaccessibility of or difficulty with the standard material. A convenient, although not comprehensive, presentation of required sample sizes is provided here. Effect-size indexes and conventional values for these are given for operationally defined small, medium, and large effects. The sample sizes necessary for .80 power to detect effects at these levels are tabled for eight standard statistical tests: (a) the difference between independent means, (b) the significance of a product-moment correlation, (c) the difference between independent rs, (d) the sign test, (e) the difference between independent proportions, (f) chi-square tests for goodness of fit and contingency tables, (g) one-way analysis of variance, and (h) the significance of a multiple or multiple partial correlation.
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              Attention and the detection of signals.


                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                2 December 2014
                : 9
                : 12
                [1 ]King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Section of Eating Disorders, London, United Kingdom
                [2 ]University College London, Institute of Child Health, Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit, London, United Kingdom
                University of Udine, Italy
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: JT VC FC NM. Performed the experiments: VC FC JL CR SD AH RH. Analyzed the data: VC FC JL CR. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: VC FC JL CR SD AH RH. Wrote the paper: VC FC JT.


                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.

                Page count
                Pages: 16
                FC and CR are supported by Psychiatry Research Trust Fellowships. VC is supported by a Marie Curie fellowship. NM is funded by a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Clinician Scientist Award (DHCS/08/08/012). JT receives salary support from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Mental Health Biomedical Research at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and King's College London. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Mental Health and Psychiatry
                Women's Health
                Social Sciences
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                The authors confirm that, for approved reasons, some access restrictions apply to the data underlying the findings. Data are only available upon request. Requests should be sent to: valentina.cardi@ 123456kcl.ac.uk .



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