Examining the relationship between selective attentional bias for food- and body-related stimuli and purging behaviour in bulimia nervosa

Previous research exploring cognitive biases in bulimia nervosa suggests that attentional biases occur for both food-related and body-related cues. Individuals with bulimia were compared to non-bulimic controls on an emotional-Stroop task which contained both food-related and body-related cues. Results indicated that bulimics (but not controls) demonstrated a cognitive bias for both food-related and body-related cues. However, a discrepancy between the two cue-types was observed with body-related cognitive biases showing the most robust effects and food-related cognitive biases being the most strongly associated with the severity of the disorder. The results may have implications for clinical practice as bulimics with an increased cognitive bias for food-related cues indicated increased bulimic disorder severity.