Testing the validity of online psychophysical measurement of body image perception

Jiří Gumančík, Piers Cornelissen*, Lise Gulli Brokjøb, Bethany J Ridley, Kris McCarty, Martin Tovee, Katri Cornelissen

*Corresponding author for this work

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This body image study tests the viability of transferring a complex psychophysical
paradigm from a controlled in-person laboratory task to an online environment. 172
female participants made online judgements about their own body size when viewing
images of computer-generated female bodies presented in either in front-view or at 45-
degrees in a method of adjustment (MOA) paradigm. The results of these judgements
were then compared to the results of two laboratory-based studies (with 96 and 40
female participants respectively) to establish three key findings. Firstly, the results
show that the accuracy of online and in-lab estimates of body size are comparable,
secondly that the same patterns of visual biases in judgements are shown both in-lab
and online, and thirdly online data shows the same view-orientation advantage in
accuracy in body size judgements as the laboratory studies. Thus, this study suggests
that that online sampling potentially represents a rapid and accurate way of collecting
reliable complex behavioural and perceptual data from a more diverse range of
participants than is normally sampled in laboratory-based studies. It also offers the
potential for designing stratified sampling strategies to construct a truly representative
sample of a target population.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Apr 2024

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