A Virtual Reality Study of Cognitive Biases in Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Previous research shows that individuals with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) misinterpret ambiguous social information in a negative and threatening manner. These erroneous threat appraisals are thought to maintain disorder symptomatology and psychosocial impairment by reinforcing individuals' distorted self-image and ideas of social undesirability. Thus, maladaptive interpretation biases represent an important treatment target for this population; however, existing bias assessments and modification protocols are limited by the hypothetical and distal nature of scenarios and do not capture momentary experiential threat processes. The proposed study seeks to test virtual reality (VR) technology as a novel, in vivo means of eliciting, identifying, and measuring threat interpretation biases in a clinical sample to better understand the fear/threat structure activated during social interactions in BDD. Findings have the potential to enhance our understanding of disorder maintenance and identify more nuanced treatment targets. This study represents a critical first step in the long-term goal of harnessing VR gaming technology to supercharge existing treatment approaches for this debilitating illness.
- Body Dysmorphic Disorders
- Eligible Ages
- Over 18 Years
- Eligible Genders
- Accepts Healthy Volunteers
- Age 18+,
- Fluent in English,
- Meet DSM-5 criteria for principal BDD (BDD group) or no other current psychiatric diagnosis (HC group; assessed via clinical interview).
- Acute psychosis, bipolar disorder, substance use disorder, or suicidality,
- Serious neurological impairment or intellectual disability,
- Any known cardiac problems, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome,
- Taking medication that affects the heart.
- Study Type
- Observational Model
- Time Perspective
|Body dysmorphic disorder||Meet DSM-5 criteria for principal body dysmorphic disorder, assessed via the Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM-V Axis I Disorders (SCID)||
|Healthy control||Individuals who do not have a current psychiatric diagnosis, assessed via the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI)||
- NCT ID
- Massachusetts General Hospital
Study ContactAnna C Schwartzberg, BA