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© The Author(s) 2014. In eating disorders (EDs), interest commonly focuses on eating, weight, and shape rather than on beliefs. In this study, we investigated the importance of negative self-beliefs in EDs by examining whether manipulating those beliefs would elicit symptom-relevant change. The technique cognitive-bias modification is ideal for this purpose because it permits experimental manipulation of beliefs. Using content derived from the clinical literature, we applied cognitive-bias modification to a sample of 88 subclinical participants. Results demonstrated a wide range of effects, including significant change in target beliefs, ED behaviors, related intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and depression, some of which were maintained at 1-week follow-up. Although one measure of ED symptoms remained unaltered, our data nevertheless evidence a causal role of negative self-beliefs in ED pathology and suggest that future work in clinical samples is warranted, including identification of factors determining susceptibility to the technique.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Psychological Science

Publication Date





756 - 766