IT HAS BECOME increasingly apparent that the way in which an individual perceives and conceptualizes his body influences numerous aspects of his behavior. This body-image concept has generated observation, experimentation, and theorizing, especially with respect to psychologically and neurologically abnormal populations.1,2 In 1967, we investigated experimentally the body-image of chronic schizophrenics, using the adjustable body-distorting mirror.3 The mirror is designed to evaluate one aspect of body image, namely, the internalized picture that the person has of the physical appearance of his body. The results indicated that, although the patients performed significantly more poorly on the body-image task, the group also made less accurate perceptual judgments involving similar distortions on a nonbody control task. Whether a body-image disturbance was present independent of a general visual perceptual disturbance in these patients could not be determined from the data.
The purpose of the earlier study was to obtain normative data on