This thesis seeks to explore the effects of food and food focus on the cognitive phenomenon of boundary extension (BE). BE occurs when people are asked to remember pictures. It is an error of commission that takes place within milliseconds and results in people reporting the picture they previously saw with wider boundaries than it actually had. Although much research points toward the automaticity of this effect, other studies indicate that picture characteristics and individual differences among participants can moderate BE. To test for how pictures of food and the individual difference of food focus impact boundary ratings, participants completed the Power of Food Scale as a measure of food focus and then rated pictures pairs depicting food and nonfood objects for how close-up or far away the second image in each pair (i.e., target pictures) was as compared to the first. They also gave a confidence rating for the boundaries they reported. BE was measured using four picture conditions: two involving identical pictures (i.e., close-close and wide-wide) and two involving non-identical pictures (i.e., close-wide and wide-close). As predicted, participants produced boundary ratings indicative of BE. Less expected was that participants reported target food pictures as closer than target nonfood pictures when the first member of the picture pair was shown at a wide angle. As for the individual difference of food focus, follow-up analyses revealed that participants with high food focus showed greater BE than participants with low food focus in response to food pictures; however, this difference was only found to be significant for identical trials. It could be that people with high levels of food focus automatically engage in higher levels of food avoidance such that the boundary extension pattern is exaggerated. Potential clinical implications for the findings as related to eating disorders are discussed.
|Advisor:||Breaux, Brooke O.|
|Commitee:||Perkins, Rick, Smith, Scott|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||MAI 57/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Clinical psychology, Cognitive psychology|
|Keywords:||Boundary extension, Eating disorder, Extension, Food focus, Food pictures, Perception|
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