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

Watts KJ, Cranney J - BMC Public Health (2010)

Bottom Line: Automatic evaluation was evident: responding to congruent pairs was faster than responding to incongruent pairs.Body image concerns were unrelated to automaticity.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychosocial Research Group, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, 2031, Australia. k.watts@unsw.edu.au

ABSTRACT

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.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Experiment 2 mean response latency (ms) as a function of appearance schematicity, SOA, and valence congruence. Reproduced from Current Psychiatry Reviews 2009;5:110-126 with the permission of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd and the authors Watts and Cranney (2009).
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Figure 2: Experiment 2 mean response latency (ms) as a function of appearance schematicity, SOA, and valence congruence. Reproduced from Current Psychiatry Reviews 2009;5:110-126 with the permission of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd and the authors Watts and Cranney (2009).

Mentions: Figure 2 suggests that on average, response latencies were faster for congruent trials than for incongruent trials. The highly significant main effect of congruence confirmed this pattern, F(1, 46) = 18.93, MSE = 8,207.19, p < .001, partial η2 = 0.29. Contrary to classic criterion predictions, the interaction between SOA and valence congruence was not significant. Consistent with the parsimonious criterion, responses to congruent trials were significantly faster than responses to incongruent trials at the short SOA, F(1, 48) = 14.60, MSE = 6,401.77, p < .001, partial η2 = 0.23. There were no main or interaction effects for schematicity, with one exception. Aschematics responded more quickly to SOA 1000 trials than to SOA 300 trials, compared to schematics, F(1, 46) = 4.24, p = .05, partial η2 = 0.08, suggesting that schematics may have engaged in more elaborative, effortful processing of body-related words when they had the time to do so.


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

Watts KJ, Cranney J - BMC Public Health (2010)

Experiment 2 mean response latency (ms) as a function of appearance schematicity, SOA, and valence congruence. Reproduced from Current Psychiatry Reviews 2009;5:110-126 with the permission of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd and the authors Watts and Cranney (2009).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2902436&req=5

Figure 2: Experiment 2 mean response latency (ms) as a function of appearance schematicity, SOA, and valence congruence. Reproduced from Current Psychiatry Reviews 2009;5:110-126 with the permission of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd and the authors Watts and Cranney (2009).
Mentions: Figure 2 suggests that on average, response latencies were faster for congruent trials than for incongruent trials. The highly significant main effect of congruence confirmed this pattern, F(1, 46) = 18.93, MSE = 8,207.19, p < .001, partial η2 = 0.29. Contrary to classic criterion predictions, the interaction between SOA and valence congruence was not significant. Consistent with the parsimonious criterion, responses to congruent trials were significantly faster than responses to incongruent trials at the short SOA, F(1, 48) = 14.60, MSE = 6,401.77, p < .001, partial η2 = 0.23. There were no main or interaction effects for schematicity, with one exception. Aschematics responded more quickly to SOA 1000 trials than to SOA 300 trials, compared to schematics, F(1, 46) = 4.24, p = .05, partial η2 = 0.08, suggesting that schematics may have engaged in more elaborative, effortful processing of body-related words when they had the time to do so.

Bottom Line: Automatic evaluation was evident: responding to congruent pairs was faster than responding to incongruent pairs.Body image concerns were unrelated to automaticity.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Psychosocial Research Group, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick, NSW, 2031, Australia. k.watts@unsw.edu.au

ABSTRACT

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.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus