In a recent paper Guardia and colleagues observed an altered egocentric representation of the body in a bariatric patient: the patient experienced both implicitly and explicitly a wider body even after a successful weight reduction (before: 125Kg; after: 60 Kg). These data suggests a possible role of an impaired memory of the body in the etiology of both obesity and eating disorders. Specifically, according to the Allocentric Lock Hypothesis, individuals with these disorders may be locked to an allocentric (from outside) memory of the body that is no longer updated by contrasting egocentric representations driven by perception. A possible key to unlock this virtual body is virtual reality: a recent controlled trial with obese BED and a case study with an obese bariatric patient demonstrated the ability of a virtual reality enhanced cognitive behavioral approach in reducing body image dissatisfaction and in improving the long term outcome of the treatment.
- Allocentric lock