The Role of Visual Cues in Body Size Estimation

MPI Series in Biological Cybernetics, Bd. 56

Anne Thaler

ISBN 978-3-8325-5026-4
204 pages, year of publication: 2019
price: 43.00 €
Our body is central to what we define as our self. The mental representation of our physical appearance, often called body image, can have a great influence on our psychological health. Given the increase in body mass index worldwide and the societal pressure to conform to body ideals, it is important to gain a better understanding of the nature of body representations and factors that play a role in body size estimation tasks. This doctoral thesis takes a multifaceted approach for investigating the role of different visual cues in the estimation of own body size and shape by using a variety of experimental methods and novel state-of-the-art computer graphics methods. Two visual cues were considered: visual perspective and identity cues in the visual appearance of a body (shape, and color-information), as well as their interactions with own body size and gender. High ecological validity was achieved by testing body size estimation in natural settings, when looking into a mirror, and by generating biometrically plausible virtual bodies based on 3D body scans and statistical body models, and simulating real-world scenarios in immersive virtual reality.

Anne Thaler studierte zunächst Biologie in Tübingen, wo sie während ihrer Bachelorarbeit ihre Faszination für die menschliche Wahrnehmung entdeckte. Während ihres Auslandsstudiums an der University of Sussex in Brighton studierte sie Psychologie und Neurowissenschaften, bevor es sie für ein Masterstudium in Kognitiver Neuropsychologie an die Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam zog. Für ihre Promotion kam sie zurück nach Tübingen. An den Max-Planck-Instituten für Biologische Kybernetik und Intelligente Systeme, sowie während ihres Forschungsaufenthalts an der University of Utah in Salt Lake City, erforschte sie die visuelle Wahrnehmung des eigenen Körpers. In ihrer Doktorarbeit kombinierte sie Methoden der Psychophysik mit neuartigen Computergraphik-Methoden zur Erstellung realistischer 3D Körpermodelle, und untersuchte Körperwahrnehmung in ökologisch-validen Szenarien mit Hilfe von virtueller Realität.

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Table of contents (PDF)

Preview (PDF)


  • Körperwahrnehmung
  • Körperbild
  • Visuelle Kognition
  • Biometrische Körpermodelle
  • Virtuelle Realität


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