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Word lists for testing cognitive biases in eating disorders

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To meet the need for improved word lists describing physical attributes of people for use in cognitive tests related to eating disorders, the present study developed four larger, homogeneous word lists, describing (1) a fat physique, (2) a thin physique, (3) unattractiveness, and (4) attractiveness.


Fifty female undergraduates categorized and rated the valence and familiarity of 233 words. Word lists were constructed so that average number of syllables, word length, word frequency and word familiarity would be comparable.


Fat and thin word lists and unattractive and attractive word lists were statistically matched on all aforementioned characteristics. As expected, fat and unattractive words were rated more negatively than thin and attractive words. The final word lists are presented.


Use of these standardized stimuli sets will help improve the internal validity of cognitive research that employs them and has the potential to facilitate comparison of results across studies. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

Keywords: cognitive bias; cognitive test; word lists

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Canada

Publication date: 2005-05-01

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