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I Feel Better Naked [60 Sec Psych]

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Whether gardening outdoors or hiking in the woods, getting back to nature is generally good for mental health. But what about just getting naked? Today we report on the first randomized controlled trial of naked activity on body-image anxiety. [Link]

Published On: 7/11/20

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Transcript:

Whether gardening outdoors or hiking in the woods, getting back to nature is generally good for mental health. But what about just getting naked? Today we report on the first randomized controlled trial of naked activity on body-image anxiety.

The study by Dr. Keon West recruited 51 British adults with a simple ad on twitter: “Hang out with others, drink some wine, and get paid 10 quid.” They were then randomized to enter one of two rooms in a North London Bar. In the first room, they mingled and drank with their clothes on. In the second room, they were met with an instruction that must have felt like a surprise: “For this experiment all you have to do is (1) enjoy yourself in the company others for 45 minutes and (2) do so naked. All participants are expected to disrobe for this part of the experiment.” And they all disrobed without incident.

The result: Socializing naked reduced body-image anxiety. It also improved body appreciation, but this effect seemed mediated by the reduction in negative feelings about one’s body. The intervention had no effect on the perceived attractiveness of others. 

What does in the devil does this all mean? Well, they didn’t recruit a clinical sample, so it tells us nothing about how nude interactions would affect people with eating disorders, body dysmoprhic disorder, or social anxiety. But it does help us understand and empathize with patients who pursue the nudist lifestyle. And that was likely the sponsors goal for the study, which was funded by the British Naturism Group, a nudist society.

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