The neurocognitive basis of insight into illness in anorexia nervosa: A pilot metacognitive study

Reout Arbel*, Danny Koren, Ehud Klein, Yael Latzer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The primary goal of the present study was to explore the neuropsychological basis of insight into illness in anorexia nervosa by evaluating its differential and joint links with cognitive vs. metacognitive performance. Participants in the study were 25 women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 25 healthy comparisons (HC). All participants completed a computerized version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) and the Computerized Body-Size Discrimination task (CBSD). In addition to the standard administration of the tasks, subjects were also asked to rate their level of confidence in the correctness of each sort and to choose whether they wanted each sort to be "counted" toward their overall performance score on the test. Insight into illness in the AN group was assessed with the Scale of Unawareness of Mental Disorder (SUMD). Prediction of poor insight was significantly improved when adding the new, free-choice metacognitive measures to the conventional measures in both tasks, but not the other way around. These preliminary results suggest that metacognition might be an important mediator between basic cognitive deficits and poor insight and that it might be even more relevant to poor insight than cognitive deficits per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-610
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 30 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Executive function
  • Insight
  • Metacognition


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