Document Detail

Visual diet versus associative learning as mechanisms of change in body size preferences.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23144929     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Systematic differences between populations in their preferences for body size may arise as a result of an adaptive 'prepared learning' mechanism, whereby cues to health or status in the local population are internalized and affect body preferences. Alternatively, differences between populations may reflect their 'visual diet' as a cognitive byproduct of mere exposure. Here we test the relative importance of these two explanations for variation in body preferences. Two studies were conducted where female observers were exposed to pictures of high or low BMI women which were either aspirational (healthy, attractive models in high status clothes) or non-aspirational (eating disordered patients in grey leotards), or to combinations thereof, in order to manipulate their body-weight preferences which were tested at baseline and at post-test. Overall, results showed good support for visual diet effects (seeing a string of small or large bodies resulted in a change from pre- to post-test whether the bodies were aspirational or not) and also some support for the associative learning explanation (exposure to aspirational images of overweight women induced a towards preferring larger bodies, even when accompanied by equal exposure to lower weight bodies in the non-aspirational category). Thus, both influences may act in parallel.
Lynda G Boothroyd; Martin J Tovée; Thomas V Pollet
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-11-07
Journal Detail:
Title:  PloS one     Volume:  7     ISSN:  1932-6203     ISO Abbreviation:  PLoS ONE     Publication Date:  2012  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-12     Completed Date:  2013-05-09     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101285081     Medline TA:  PLoS One     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  e48691     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, Durham University, Durham, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Association Learning*
Body Mass Index
Body Size*
Body Weight
Diet / psychology*
Health Status*
Photic Stimulation

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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