Exploring emotion recognition in adults and adolescents with anorexia nervosa using a body motion paradigm

Katie Lang, Marcela Marin Dapelo, Mizanur Khondoker, Robin Morris, Simon Surguladze, Janet Treasure, Kate Tchanturia

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is consistent evidence of difficulties in social cognition in adults with anorexia nervosa (AN), but less is known about adolescents. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability to recognise emotion expressed in body movement in adults and adolescents with AN. 

Method: One hundred and ninety-three females participated in the study (AN=97: 61 adults and 36 adolescents). The performance of participants with AN on a body emotion recognition task was compared to age-matched healthy controls (HC=96). 

Results: AN participants were significantly worse than HC recognising sadness, with adolescent AN participants showing worse performance overall. There were no difficulties in the recognition of other emotions. 

Discussion: The results partially support previous studies and the literature on facial emotion recognition, showing poorer recognition of sadness in AN. The results also suggest that difficulties in emotion recognition through body movements may be more subtle than other socio-emotional difficulties observed in AN. Copyright (c) 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number4
Early online date22 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Emotion recognition
  • anorexia nervosa
  • eating disorders
  • point light
  • body motion

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