Development and Structure of the Body Image - Vol. 2

By Seymour Fisher | Go to book overview

18
Speculations and
Constructions

INTRODUCTION

This final chapter is reserved for some imaginative stretching. There has already been a good deal of summarizing and generalizing of the detailed observations and experiments presented. It is time to pull together impressions, to raise questions, and to play with novel constructions.

Although we are still in the early stages of understanding body image phenomena, we have discovered that body attitudes are woven into practically every aspect of behavior. The full range of their involvement cannot be overstated. Body image variables have been shown to influence perception of tachistoscopically presented stimuli, inkblots, and various kinds of projective pictures. Body attitudes consistently reveal themselves whenever persons interpret unstructured stimuli. They also variously influence perception of the location of vertical, the apparent vividness of perceptual inputs, and the detection of distortions in one's mirror image. The selective memory effects of body image sets have been particularly well documented. Boundary definiteness, prominence of body landmarks, and overall awareness of one's body have all been shown to inhibit or facilitate memory for specific categories of words. Clearly, body attitudes have an impact on the broad process of perceptual tuning. They can apparently affect the acceptance or rejection of multiple types of information. In another realm, we have seen that the body image mediates selective awareness of the sensations emanating from diverse local areas of one's own body space. It shapes responses to events both within and outside the body boundary.

The array of behaviors with which body image variables are linked can perhaps best be conveyed by simply listing at random a number of parameters that have turned out to be significantly correlated with body image indices: achievement motivation, sexual arousal patterns, authoritarianism, guilt, religiosity, sociability, attitudes toward the disabled, frequency of specific types of body symptoms, cultural assimilation, interest patterns, ability to express hostility, intraception, power orientation, adaptation to body damage, delinquent behavior, oral character traits, response to drugs and placebo, anal character traits, physiological reactivity, closeness to others in small group settings, clothing choice, drug addiction, tolerance for stress, adaptation to lens induced distortions of the environment. The manner in

-625-

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Development and Structure of the Body Image - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents Volume 2 vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction Volume 2 xi
  • 18 Speculations and Constructions 625
  • Appendix B 673
  • Appendix C 681
  • Bibliography 689
  • Author Index 841
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