Visual evaluation of food amount in patients affected by Anorexia Nervosa

Eat Behav. 2007 Aug;8(3):291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2006.11.004. Epub 2006 Dec 5.


Objective: The study compares visual evaluation of an amount of food and an amount of nonedible objects in patients affected by Anorexia Nervosa and control subjects.

Method: 59 anorexic subjects were asked to evaluate an amount of candies and plastic bricks shown to them. Their answers were compared to both the real number of objects and the parallel evaluations given by 56 control subjects.

Results: There were no significant differences in stimuli evaluation between patients affected by AN and control subjects. Both groups reported a significantly lower number of both candies and bricks in comparison to their real number.

Discussion: In an experimental condition not related with food intake there is the same under-evaluation of the amount of presented food and nonedible objects among patients affected by AN and Control Subjects. The clinical finding of overestimation of food intake among patients affected by AN seems not to be due to a perceptive bias.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa / diet therapy
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Candy*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Eating
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Perceptual Distortion
  • Reference Values
  • Size Perception*
  • Weight Gain