The MagicOutFit project
Negative body perceptions are a serious problem in our society. They are increasing and affect many people in Europe and world-wide. They impact on emotional, social, and motor functioning, are present in many clinical conditions, and are among the most consistent predictors of many (un)healthy behaviors. Hence, to promote healthy behaviors, it is important to make people feel good about their bodies. Remarkably, neuroscientific breakthroughs have shown that people’s body perceptions can be changed via specially designed sensory feedback. This opens a unique opportunity to address negative mental body representations and impact positively on health.
The MagicOutFit project follows a novel approach which consists of using sensory feedback to alter the way people perceive their body in order to drive positive changes in emotional and physical health in populations with body concerns. The project investigates the most effect sensory feedback to address individual body concerns, such as concerns with body appearance (such as body size or shape) and of body capabilities (such as agility or strength). The potential benefits of the MagicOutFit technology will be evaluated in non-clinical and clinical populations with different body concerns, including professional dancers, physically inactive people and populations with eating disorders. MagicOutFit is an international and multidisciplinar project, which brings together researchers from 4 different European countries, from the areas of Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, Human-Computer Interaction and real-life applications for health.
In MagicOutFit we are developing wearable technology that integrates body-sensing and sensory feedback tailored to alter specific qualities of body perception, according to user needs, and suitable for use in real-life conditions (for instance, outdoors, home). We will iteratively redesign our technology to match emergent needs and uses, following the concept of an outfit that helps to keep emotionally and physically FIT. We envision that MagicOutFit will guide the design of new body-centred technologies to enhance the positivity towards one’s body that can revolutionize therapies and self-management of negative body perceptions.