Scientists from the University of Barcelona have conducted a number of experiments and found that people find their own bodies more attractive if they look at themselves from the outside. An article about this was published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI.
The study involved 23 people - 11 men and 12 women. They completed two questionnaires, one on eating disorders and one on the perception of their body.
After that, the specialists, using virtual reality technologies, created three avatars for each person: one was created based on their own ideas about the body, the second was a copy of the real body, and the third was the ideal body from the point of view of the participant.
The volunteers were then immersed in virtual reality and showed them avatars from different perspectives: from the first person (as if they were looking at themselves in a mirror) and from the third person (from the outside). People had to evaluate the appeal of each virtual body.
It turned out that when people look at themselves in the first person the body seems less attractive than when they look at themselves from the outside. The difference in scores was particularly noticeable for women. Moreover, after the experiment, their level of dissatisfaction with their own bodies decreased.
The authors of the study noted that participants' internal perceptions of their own bodies were generally inaccurate. They believe that this may lead to eating disorders in people.
It was also found that the ideal bodies that were created from the participants' ideas were something similar. This suggests that the shape of the expected body is in some way related to public opinion and stereotypes.
Such a method, experts conclude, can help people to change their ideas about their own body, namely, to reconsider their negative beliefs and accept themselves.