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Distorted self-image due to visual brain glitch, UCLA research finds
Date:12/3/2007

al goggles that enabled them to view digital photos of various faces as they underwent a brain scan.

Each volunteer viewed three types of images. The first type was an untouched photo. The second type was a photo altered to eliminate facial details that appear frequently, such as freckles, wrinkles and scars. This low frequency technique blurred the final image.

The third type of image essentially subtracted the blurred second image from the untouched photo. This high frequency technique resulted in a finely detailed line drawing.

Feusners team compared the BDD patients responses to 12 control subjects matched by age, gender, education and handedness. What the scientists observed surprised them.

We saw a clear difference in how the right and left sides of the brain worked in people with BDD versus those without the disorder, noted Feusner.

BDD patients more often used their brains left side -- the analytic side attuned to complex detail -- even when processing the less intricate, low-frequency images. In contrast, the left sides of the control subjects brains activated only to interpret the more detailed high-frequency information. Their brains processed the untouched and low-frequency images on the right side, which is geared toward seeing things in their entirety.

We dont know why BDD patients analyze all faces as if they are high frequency, said Feusner. The findings suggest that BDD brains are programmed to extract details -- or fill them in where they dont exist. Its possible they are thinking of their own face even when they are looking at others.

Feusner also recently discovered that the more severe the BDD patients symptoms, the more strongly the brains left side activates during visual processing. He is currently studying how BDD patients process their own faces in order to explore how emotional arousal may influence visual processing.

All of these findings indicate
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Contact: Elaine Schmidt
eschmidt@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2272
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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