Larger than Life

This line of research seems to me to be significant in body dysmorphia of all kinds: Nonverbal Status Cues Alter Perceived Size.

I remember the "aha" moment I experienced as I first read about body dysmorphia and body schema. For the first time I realized that what we all perceive as our body - the size and dimensions and outside appearance - is made up by our brain. None of it is objective, and all of it is probably manipulable by brain function - diet, hormones, stress, personal history, the people around us, art, even temperature and time of day.

It was both a frightening and a freeing realization. I let go of a lot of stuff that day about my own body and self-consciousness. I let go of appearance as something to discuss at all - it became meaningless and silly. I've never been much of a mirror person, but I stopped thinking the mirror was going to tell me anything of much importance beyond whether I had spinach between my teeth and my shirt was evenly tucked in.

And now I think I'll reconsider whether S.K. and K.M. were, indeed, as tall as I remember them in elementary school. Maybe they just made me FEEL small.


  1. So interesting! If those with “no personal history of (mental) disorder” fluidly interpret size, one can only imagine how those with a brain disorder such as anorexia do so.

    For an intriguing view of the inner workings of the brain, check out the following video. Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a Harvard neuroscientist, describes her own stroke. Particularly interesting is her description of how losing function in one side of her brain influenced her perception of her size. She describes feeling “expansive” and unable to fit into her body. It’s an 18 minute video but well worth the time if you haven’t seen it.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts