Face and Object Perception in Body Dysmorphic Disorder versus Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Mooney Faces Task

Wei Lin Toh, David J. Castle, Susan L. Rossell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by repetitive behaviors and/or mental acts occurring in response to preoccupations with perceived defects or flaws in physical appearance. There are some similarities, but also important differences, between BDD and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), not just in terms of core clinical symptoms, but possibly in the domain of perception. This study compared the nature and extent of perceptual anomalies in BDD versus OCD and health controls (HC), using a modified Mooney task. Methods: We included 21 BDD, 19 OCD, and 21 HC participants, who were age-, sex-, and IQ-matched. A set of 40 Mooney faces and 40 Mooney objects arranged in three configurations (i.e., upright, inverted, or scrambled) were presented under brief (i.e., 500 ms) free-viewing conditions. Participants were asked to decide whether each image represented a human face, an object, or neither in a forced-choice paradigm. Results: The BDD group showed significantly reduced face and object inversion effects relative to the other two groups. This was accounted for by BDD participants being significantly more accurate in identifying inverted Mooney faces and objects than the other participants. Conclusions: These data were interpreted as reflecting an overreliance on independent components at the expense of holistic (configural) processing in BDD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-480
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Body
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Physical appearance
  • Visual perception

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