Automatic evaluation of body-related words among young women: an experimental study

Watts, Kaaren J.; Cranney, Jacquelyn
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p308
Academic Journal
Background: Previous research has demonstrated that exposure to images depicting the thin female ideal has negative effects on some females' levels of body dissatisfaction. Much of this research, however, has utilised relatively long stimulus exposure times; thereby focusing on effortful and conscious processing of body-related stimuli. Relatively little is known about the nature of females' affective responses to the textual components of body-related stimuli, especially when these stimuli are only briefly encountered. The primary aim of the current research was to determine whether young women automatically evaluate body-related words and whether these responses are associated with body image concerns, including self-reported levels of appearance schematicity, thin internalisation, body dissatisfaction, and dietary restraint. Methods: An affective priming task was used to investigate whether females automatically evaluate body-related words, and whether this is associated with self-reported body image concerns. In a within-participants experimental design, the valence congruence of the prime and target pairs was manipulated. Participants selected body words as primes in Experiment 1 (N = 27), while normatively selected body words were primes in Experiment 2 (N = 50). Each prime was presented briefly, followed by a target word which participants judged as "good" or "bad". The dependent variable was response latency to the target. Results: Automatic evaluation was evident: responding to congruent pairs was faster than responding to incongruent pairs. Body image concerns were unrelated to automaticity. Conclusions: The findings suggest that brief encounters with body words are likely to prompt automatic evaluation in all young women, and that this process proceeds unintentionally and efficiently, without conscious guidance.


Related Articles

  • Body-image Assessment: A Review and Evaluation of a New Computer-aided Measurement Technique. Cullari, Salvatore; Vosburgh, Michelle; Shotwell, Amber; Inzodda, Julien; Davenport, Wendi // North American Journal of Psychology;2002, Vol. 4 Issue 2, p221 

    Presents information on a study that investigated a procedure for assessing body-image. Methodology of the study; Results and discussion on the study.

  • Plastic is not fantastic! Kamaleddine, Samera // Dolly;Jan2005, Issue 411, p119 

    Comments on the pressure faced by teenage girls regarding body image.

  • WHAT did She Call Me? Citroën, Lida // Going Bonkers;Winter2009, Vol. 3 Issue 4, p16 

    The article discusses the importance of self branding. Uniqueness and authenticity are the main focus of an effective branding and according to the author, it is important to start with one's strengths and uniqueness when coming up with one's own personal brand. Once a person has found the brand...

  • body image. Peters, Michael // BMA A-Z Family Medical Encyclopedia;2004, p113 

    An encyclopedia entry for "body image" is presented. The term refers to an individual's perception of the different parts of his or her own body.

  • Assessment of adolescent body perception: Development and characterization of a novel tool for morphing images of adolescent bodies. Aleong, Rosanne; Duchesne, Simon; Paus, Tomáš // Behavior Research Methods;Aug2007, Vol. 39 Issue 3, p651 

    We developed a computer-based method of distorting adolescent body images, which incorporates the covariation between body parts found during growth and sexual maturation. An Adolescent Body-Shape Database (AdoBSD) and Adolescent Body Morphing Tool (AdoBMT) are described; the AdoBSD comprises...

  • Promoting a Healthy Body Image Through Physical Activity. Markuha, Pirkko // Research Update;Jun2007, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p1 

    The article provides a research update regarding the promotion of a healthy body image through physical activity. The author points out the fact that negative thoughts about one's body create body dissatisfaction and can cause body image distortion. He then offers practical applications on body...

  • The Measure of Men. Douthat, Ross; Henry, Terrence; Poe, Marshall // Atlantic;Jun2005, Vol. 295 Issue 5, p46 

    The article reports on a study of Taiwanese men, which found that they are more comfortable with their appearance than men in Western countries, who, when asked to pick the male body type they think women find most attractive, tend to select one that is about twenty pounds more muscled-up than...

  • Brains react differently.  // CPJ: Counselling & Psychotherapy Journal;Feb2005, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p24 

    The article cites a study published in a recent issue of the "British Journal of Psychiatry," which suggests that the brains of men and women behave differently when confronted with unpleasant words concerning body image. The study found that men are more rational in their processing of words...

  • Negative body image and disordered eating behavior in children and adolescents: what places youth at risk and how can these problems be prevented? Littleton, Heather L.; Ollendick, Thomas // Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review;Mar2003, Vol. 6 Issue 1, p51 

    In this review, we examine the prevalence of negative body image and disordered eating behaviors (i.e., excessive dieting, binge eating, inappropriate weight loss techniques) in children and adolescents. We also explore correlates and predictors of the development of these problems, including...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics