INTUITIVE HEURISTIC BINDING PERFECTIONISM, CONTROL AND BODY SHAPE BELIEFS Confalonieri, L. 1, 3, 4  , Ruggiero, G.M. 1 Ali...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK One of the constraint of human cognitive functioning is  categorization  an...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Representativeness Heuristic  <ul><li>To assess the probability that Linda ...
<ul><li>Eating Disorder  as illusory compensation to the sense of lack of control and obsession for a self-esteem perceive...
<ul><li>If correlation studies highlight the association between perfectionism and eating disorders mediated by low percep...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri GOAL and HYPOTHESIS  Goal:   Verify the existence of intuitive heuristics binding pathologic perf...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri METHOD  <ul><li>Exploratory study </li></ul><ul><li>Sample:  n. 21 healthy Caucasian females, mea...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri <ul><li>Sylvia cannot stop to perfectly tidy up her house     control: sentence rationally coher...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri ENCOURAGING RESULTS   <ul><li>“ Controlling tidiness” considered of highest probability   (sig .0...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri …  RESULTS   <ul><li>“ Controlling documents” considered of highest probability (sig .001): sente...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri …  RESULTS <ul><li>“ Controlling article” considered of highest probability   (sig .000): sentenc...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri <ul><li>Associative binding between body-shape belief of thinness and perfectionism in the domain...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri FUTURE DIRECTIONS  <ul><li>Enlargement of non-clinical sample </li></ul><ul><li>Enlargement to cl...
03/01/12 L. Confalonieri [email_address]
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INTUITIVE HEURISTIC BINDING PERFECTIONISM, CONTROL AND BODY SHAPE BELIEFS

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Confalonieri, L.1, 3, 4 , Ruggiero, G.M.1
Alighieri, S.2, Sacco, M.,1 Cattaneo, S.1

1Studi Cognitivi, Milan
2 Studi Cognitivi, Modena
3 Department of Human Sciences “Riccardo Massa”, University of Milan Bicocca, Milan
4 Mental Health Department, A.O. “Guido Salvini”, Garbagnate M., Italy


Eating Disorder as illusory compensation to the sense of lack of control and obsession for a self-esteem perceived as perfectionistically inadequate; this illusory compensation gets displaced onto controlling eating and body shape (Fairburn, Shafran, & Cooper, 1999).

Association between perfectionism and eating disorders, mediated by low perception of control and low-self esteem

Mainly verified by correlational studies using questionnaires (Sassaroli, Gallucci, & Ruggiero, 2008; Sassaroli & Ruggiero, 2010)

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INTUITIVE HEURISTIC BINDING PERFECTIONISM, CONTROL AND BODY SHAPE BELIEFS

  1. 1. INTUITIVE HEURISTIC BINDING PERFECTIONISM, CONTROL AND BODY SHAPE BELIEFS Confalonieri, L. 1, 3, 4 , Ruggiero, G.M. 1 Alighieri, S. 2 , Sacco, M., 1 Cattaneo, S. 1 1 Studi Cognitivi, Milan 2 Studi Cognitivi, Modena 3 Department of Human Sciences “Riccardo Massa”, University of Milan Bicocca, Milan 4 Mental Health Department, A.O. “Guido Salvini”, Garbagnate M., Italy
  2. 2. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK One of the constraint of human cognitive functioning is categorization and assessment of probability that certain token (events, features, exemplars) belong to a type/category Extentional rational formal reasoning based on laws of probability : e.g. Conjunction rule : P (A&B) < P (B) (Kyburg, 1983; Zadeh, 1978) Intuitive heuristic reasoning violation of the conjunction rule and representativeness heuristic : “ the probability of an event is evaluated by of the degree of correspondence between an instance (token) and a category (type)”; Tversky & Kahneman, 1983
  3. 3. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Representativeness Heuristic <ul><li>To assess the probability that Linda belong to a category (feminist, bank-teller) individuals evaluate the </li></ul><ul><li>TIPICALITY OF LINDA’S DESCRIPTION RELATIVE TO DIFFERENT CATEGORIES: </li></ul><ul><li>highest typicality for “feminist” (A) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bank-teller (B) & feminist (A)” HIGHER TYPICALITY than “Bank-teller” (B) </li></ul><ul><li>Probability (A&B) “Bank teller & feminist” HEURISTICALLI GREATER THAN P(B) “Bank-teller” </li></ul><ul><li>VIOLATION OF CONJUCTION RULE </li></ul>? “ Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with issues of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations” <ul><li>Bank-teller </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist </li></ul><ul><li>Bookseller </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist & Bank-teller </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Eating Disorder as illusory compensation to the sense of lack of control and obsession for a self-esteem perceived as perfectionistically inadequate; this illusory compensation gets displaced onto controlling eating and body shape (Fairburn, Shafran, & Cooper, 1999). </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Association between perfectionism and eating disorders, mediated by low perception of control and low-self esteem </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mainly verified by correlational studies using questionnaires (Sassaroli, Gallucci, & Ruggiero, 2008; Sassaroli & Ruggiero, 2010) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>03/01/12 L. Confalonieri THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
  5. 5. <ul><li>If correlation studies highlight the association between perfectionism and eating disorders mediated by low perception of control and low-self esteem, </li></ul><ul><li>Do heuristic processes exist which generate cognitive prototypes associating perfectionist personality and belief of body thinness ? </li></ul>03/01/12 L. Confalonieri RESEARCH QUESTION Which belief about body shape has greater probability to be associated to a perfectionist personality prototype?
  6. 6. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri GOAL and HYPOTHESIS Goal: Verify the existence of intuitive heuristics binding pathologic perfectionism, beliefs on body shape and control exerted in everyday experiential domain/situations Hypothesis: We hypothesized that prototypes of perfectionist and controlling personality would be associated with higher probability to body-shape belief of thinness than to overweight body shape belief (heuristic content) This heuristic content originates from intuitive heuristic cognitive processes more than from formal extensional reasoning
  7. 7. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri METHOD <ul><li>Exploratory study </li></ul><ul><li>Sample: n. 21 healthy Caucasian females, mean age = 18 y.o. (s.d.= 0,66 y.o.) </li></ul><ul><li>Task: modified version of Kahneman & Tversky (1982) task for the assessment of probability in social perception </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction of personality sketches of pathologic perfectionism (personal high standards, concern over mistakes; Frost et al., 1990) </li></ul><ul><li>Assess the probability of randomized sentences regarding the person described in the sketch: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>sentence rationally coherent to the profile: “the person controls to achieve perfectionist standards” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sentence about body-shape of thinness: “the person is thin” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sentence about body-shape of overweight: “the person is overweight” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sentence rationally coherent to profile (controlling) and thinness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>sentence rationally coherent to profile (controlling) and overweight </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri <ul><li>Sylvia cannot stop to perfectly tidy up her house  control: sentence rationally coherent with the profile </li></ul><ul><li>Sylvia is overweight  overweight body shape </li></ul><ul><li>Sylvia is thin  thinness body shape </li></ul><ul><li>Sylvia is overweight and cannot stop to perfectly tidy up her house  control (sentence rationally coherent with the profile) + overweight </li></ul><ul><li>Sylvia is thin and cannot stop to perfectly tidy up her house  control (sentence rationally coherent with the profile) + thin </li></ul>Sylvia is 33 y.o. and she is employed in a multinational corporation. She does not tolerate untidiness and dirty at home and in the office; she likes have everything organized and exactly tidy. Entering in her house it seems to be in a picture of furniture fashion magazine. For Sylvia, being extremely tidy, clean and organized is crucial for being a worthy person. 3 randomized perfectionist personality sketches in cleaning and work domains. EXAMPLE:
  9. 9. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri ENCOURAGING RESULTS <ul><li>“ Controlling tidiness” considered of highest probability (sig .002): sentence rationally coherent </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thin” more probable than “Overweight” (sig .000): intuitive associative heuristic </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thin and controlling tidiness” and “Controlling tidiness” are considered similarly probable (sig .737): intuitive heuristic prevailing on conjunction probability rule ! </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thin” considered more probable than “Overweight and controlling tidiness” (sig .000): even with a rationally coherent cue subjects assess more probable “Thin” than “Overweight and controlling tidiness” </li></ul>Lower scores = higher probability
  10. 10. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri … RESULTS <ul><li>“ Controlling documents” considered of highest probability (sig .001): sentence rationally coherent </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thin” assessed as more probable than “Overweight” BUT NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT </li></ul>Lower scores = higher probability
  11. 11. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri … RESULTS <ul><li>“ Controlling article” considered of highest probability (sig .000): sentence rationally coherent </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thin” assessed as slightly more probable than “Overweight” BUT NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT </li></ul>Lower scores = higher probability
  12. 12. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri <ul><li>Associative binding between body-shape belief of thinness and perfectionism in the domain of “cleaning and hygiene” but not in the professional domain : higher salience and typicality of body-shape belief of thinness for the “cleaning perfectionism” than “professional perfectionism” </li></ul><ul><li>Non-clinical young females show intuitive heuristics associating the prototype of perfectionist personality to body-shape beliefs of thinness, in cleaning domain </li></ul><ul><li>Prevalence of intuitive heuristics on extensional rational reasoning : greater attention and salience to the belief of body thinness than to the rational cue coherent to the perfectionist profile (“controlling”): selective attention on thinness that leads to ignore even the rational coherent cue if associated to overweight (“controlling and overweight”) </li></ul><ul><li>Intuitive heuristic prevailing on conjunction probability rule : “Controlling tidiness” and “Thin and controlling tidiness” equally probable even if “Thin and controlling tidiness”: the conjunction can be more representative than </li></ul><ul><li>one of its constituents </li></ul>DISCUSSION: WHAT DO RESULTS TELL US?
  13. 13. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri FUTURE DIRECTIONS <ul><li>Enlargement of non-clinical sample </li></ul><ul><li>Enlargement to clinical Eating Disorder sample </li></ul><ul><li>Comparison with healthy young males </li></ul><ul><li>Moderator effects of “perfectionism” and “perception and desire of control”, measured via MPS (Frost et al., 1990) and ACQ-R (Kyrios, 2003) on the occurrence of heuristics and prototypes associating perfectionism and thinness </li></ul>
  14. 14. 03/01/12 L. Confalonieri [email_address]

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