Can television change anti-fat attitudes and behavior?
This work investigated negative attitudes toward overweight people and whether anti-fat attitudes and behavior could be reduced by media-based empathy and classical conditioning interventions. Participants were first primed by an empathy-evoking video of obese persons or a non-weight-related control video. Next, they viewed either a video portraying obese persons positively (e.g., as competent) or negatively (e.g., as clumsy). Participants completed outcome measures of implicit and explicit weight-related attitudes and participated in a covert behavioral task (competence ratings of thin and overweight job applicants). Results confirm strong implicit and explicit anti-fat bias across conditions, yet participants rated overweight job applicants more highly in most domains while disfavoring overweight candidates on a personal level. Overall, bias persisted despite video interventions, although surprisingly the negative (stereotypic) video was associated with somewhat reduced bias. Relationships among implicit bias, explicit bias, individual-difference variables, and awareness of obesity as a social problem are explored and discussed. Copyright © 2006 by Bellwether Publishing, Ltd. All rights reserved.
Gapinski, KD; Schwartz, MB; Brownell, KD
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