Psychological Studies

, Volume 58, Issue 3, pp 265–275 | Cite as

Intuitive Heuristics Linking Perfectionism, Control, and Beliefs Regarding Body Shape in Eating Disorders

  • Linda Confalonieri
  • Sandra Sassaroli
  • Sara Alighieri
  • Sabrina Cattaneo
  • Marita Pozzato
  • Marta Sacco
  • Giovanni Maria RuggieroEmail author


A number of correlational studies have established a clear association between perfectionism, control and beliefs regarding body shape in eating disorders (EDs). The aim of this study is to test the effectiveness of the above- mentioned associations in exploring the presence of intuitive heuristics. Intuitive heuristics can be conceived as as mental shortcuts, cognitive processes that are highly susceptible to irrational biases. Forty one non clinical female controls and 27 in-patient females with an ED diagnosis participated in an experimental task that tested whether participants would show an intuitive rather than a logically based link between perfectionism in different domains (study, work, hygiene) and a thin body shape. In the healthy female participants the occurrence of proposed link was noted in the hygiene domain only, while ED participants showed this intuitive association in all the domains explored: study, work, and hygiene. The study confirms in clinical ED sample a wider employment of heuristics associating perfectionism and thinness that is based on purely intuitive irrational reasoning.


Body shape Eating disorders Heuristics Perfectionism 


Declaration of Interest

This work is not supported by any grant or financial or other close relationship with an organization. The research is financed by the institutions where the authors work.


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Copyright information

© National Academy of Psychology (NAOP) India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda Confalonieri
    • 1
  • Sandra Sassaroli
    • 2
  • Sara Alighieri
    • 2
  • Sabrina Cattaneo
    • 3
  • Marita Pozzato
    • 4
  • Marta Sacco
    • 2
  • Giovanni Maria Ruggiero
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.“Psicoterapia Cognitiva e Ricerca”, Post-graduate Cognitive Psychotherapy SchoolMilanoItaly
  2. 2.“Studi Cognitivi”, Post-graduate Cognitive Psychotherapy SchoolMilanoItaly
  3. 3.Centro Cognitivo SaronnoSaronnoItaly
  4. 4.Unità Disturbi del Comportamento Alimentare e Riabilitazione Psiconutrizionale, Casa di Cura Villa MargheritaArcugnano (Vicenza)Italy

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