Prior functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research suggested that people with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) process visual information differently from people without BDD. This may be a key factor behind the symptoms of BDD, as it may be linked to visual distortions.
This study by Mr. Li and his team used a form of brain imaging called electroencephalography (EEG) to understand whether there are differences between 20 participants with BDD, 20 participants with anorexia nervosa, and 20 healthy control participants. All participants took part in a task in which they looked at different quality images of faces and houses and would quickly match them to target images while two brain regions associated with early visual and face processing were measured through EEG. The results showed similarities in visual deficiencies in both BDD and anorexia, and that participants with BDD demonstrated lower visual encoding (memory) and greater distortions, which could be associated with worse insight.
*Li, W., Lai, T.M., Loo, S.K., Strober, M., Mohammad-Rezazadeh, I., Khalsa, S., & Feusner, J. (2015). Aberrant early visual neural activity and brain-behavior relationships in anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9:301. doi:10.3389/fnhum.201500301