Critical Analysis of Research Concerned with Body Perception and Body Attitudes
This section embraces an analysis of the scientific literature concerned with body perception that has appeared since 1969. A review of the earlier literature up to 1958 may be found in Body Image and Personality( Fisher & Cleveland, 1958); and a review of publications from 1958 to 1969 was presented in Body Experience in Fantasy and Behavior(Fisher, 1970).
What does one include in an analysis of studies of body perception? Broad definitions and categories have been applied. Any observations pertinent to the terms body image, body concept, body scheme, body attitudes, and body experience fall within the province of the review. In short, any study qualifies for inclusion if it even remotely deals with how individuals view and assign meaning to their own body. The analyses presented are quite detailed, with sufficient information so that the reader is free to arrive at independent judgments concerning the studies that are evaluated. Greater brevity might be preferred, but, without pertinent details, judgments cannot be truly meaningful. Special effort is devoted to summarizing material, detecting similarities and contradictions, and formulating general principles. It is not the intent of this review to dissect out all the minute defects of the studies considered. Rather, criticisms are directed only at what appear to be major shortcomings.
A word is in order concerning the terms that are employed in referring to body perception phenomena. Some people urge that we should carefully limit the ways in which we use references like body image, body schemata, and body percept. For example, Shontz ( 1969) would refer to "body image" only when one has in mind "the personal body as a dynamic component of personality" (p. 6). He would confine "body schemata" to the cognitive aspects of body perception. Such distinctions seem to be premature. It is doubtful