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Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is characterised by overvalued or delusional beliefs of 'imagined ugliness'. Delusional beliefs have been explained by a number of cognitive theories, including faulty perceptions, biases in attention, and corruption of semantic memory. Atypical aesthetics may also influence beliefs in BDD. In fourteen BDD patients, compared to controls (n=14), we examined these theories of beliefs in a cognitive test battery consisting of perceptual organisation and visual affect perception tasks, a Stroop task using body words, a sentence verification task, a fluency task, and an attractiveness task. BDD patients performed similar to controls on tasks measuring information (bias) processing and aesthetics. However, BDD showed abnormal abilities on semantic processing involving sentence verification and category fluency. There was only a trend finding of impaired performance on perceptual processing tasks in BDD. The findings suggest that the delusional beliefs in BDD may be explained by impaired semantic processing.

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Journal Article

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