Sex Roles

, Volume 57, Issue 7–8, pp 569–578

Do Third-Person Perceptions of Media Influence Contribute to Pluralistic Ignorance on the Norm of Ideal Female Thinness?

  • Sung-Yeon Park
  • Gi Woong Yun
  • Jacqueline Hitchon McSweeney
  • Albert C. Gunther
Original Article


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.


Third-person effect Pluralistic ignorance Body image Eating disorders Dating relationships 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sung-Yeon Park
    • 1
  • Gi Woong Yun
    • 1
  • Jacqueline Hitchon McSweeney
    • 2
  • Albert C. Gunther
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of TelecommunicationsSchool of Communication Studies, Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Life Sciences CommunicationUniversity of Wisconsin—MadisonMadisonUSA

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