Do Third-Person Perceptions of Media Influence Contribute to Pluralistic Ignorance on the Norm of Ideal Female Thinness?
- First Online:
- 519 Downloads
This study investigated the pluralistic ignorance on the norm of ideal female thinness and also the presumed influence of thin idealized media images as the cause of the misperception. A survey of 111 female and 109 male US undergraduate students revealed that both women and men overestimated the thinness of body type preferred by others. In addition, men reported that others would be more affected by the media than self while women considered themselves to be as vulnerable as others. Subsequent regression analyses demonstrated that the difference in the perceived media influence on self and others was a significant predictor of the norm of ideal female thinness. Similar misperceptions were also found between men and women in dating relationships.
KeywordsThird-person effect Pluralistic ignorance Body image Eating disorders Dating relationships
- Brosius, H., Engel, D. (1996). The cause of third-person effects: Unrealistic optimism, impersonal impact, or generalized negative attitudes toward media influence? International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 8, 142–162.Google Scholar
- Gunther, A. C., & Chia, S. C. (2001). Predicting pluralistic ignorance: The hostile media perception and its consequences. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 78, 688–701.Google Scholar
- Levine, M. P., & Harrison, K. (2004). Media’s role in the perpetuation and prevention of negative body image and disordered eating. In J. K. Thompson (Ed.), Handbook of eating disorders and obesity (pp. 695–717). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Perse, E. M. (2001). Media effects and society. Mahwah, NJ: LEA.Google Scholar
- Smolak, L. (1999). Elementary school curricula for the primary prevention of eating problems. In N. Piran, M. P. Levine, & C. Steiner-Adair (Eds.), Preventing eating disorders: A handbook of interventions and special challenges (pp. 85–104). Philadelphia: Brunner/Mazel.Google Scholar