Believing is seeing: a new perspective on body dysmorphia | Meredith Leston | TEDxOxford

29 Apr 2016 17:11 261
1,827 104

This talk highlights the universality of body dysmorphia; this is a condition that affects us all to a greater or lesser degree. Meredith shares how her own experience of anorexia nervosa and the distorted body image that accompanied it drove her to better understand body dysmorphia. She goes on to discuss the variability of body dysmorphia and it’s potential neurological origins. Following on from this she proposes that perhaps a more ‘top-down’ or belief-driven approach to body dysmorhpia should be considered. Rather than examining how visual perception is distorted from the eye-level upwards, she proposes that our own held beliefs about ourselves may distort what we see in the mirror. Our bodies are capable of changing faster than our perceptions of ourselves; in the case of weight loss and weight gain, our beliefs, and even our greatest fears, may alter what we see in the mirror.

Meredith Leston is a full-time student studying Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. She works as a mental health campaigner and started the campaign ‘Meeting of Minds’ whilst at university. This attempts to bring an academic spotlight to mental health and advocates the need for mental health education in schools. She recently won The Prime Minister’s Point of Light award for work promoting mental health awareness. After graduating she intends to start a charity focusing on providing developing countries with mental health education and infrastructure. She will also begin her PhD investigating gender differences in mental illness at Oxford this September.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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