Departmental Bulletin Paper 居住国の肥満率と体型情報に基づく対人印象の判断 : 国際調査による検討

佐名, 龍太  ,  五十嵐, 祐  ,  SAME, Ryuta  ,  IGARASHI, Tasuku

Description
To what extent do people have negative impressions of obese people? To what extent are their impressions formed from only a person’s body shape? To examine these questions, Same & Igarashi (2013) conducted an investigation with silhouettes whose body shapes changed according to BMI (body mass index). The participants were shown only body shape information and were then asked to evaluate their impression of the people whose body shapes they had seen. Participants tended to describe silhouettes with high BMI as being warm but sloppy, rough and unhealthy, based on only minimal stimulation (e.g., the silhouettes). However, this investigation was carried out with only Japanese university students, but stereotypes about obese people may vary with the environment in which they are perceived. Robinson & Christiansen (2015) showed that females who are regularly exposed to obese males feel a greater attraction toward overweight men. In other words, when the obesity rate of the place of residence is high, the frequency of contact with obese people increases, which may, in turn, make it more difficult to form negative evaluations of the obese. Negative stereotypes (e.g., sloppy, rough) about obese people might also become difficult to form where the obesity rate is high. Therefore, we conducted an international investigation to examine the possibility of generalizing the findings for Japanese university students and to examine the difference in the relationship between body shape information and interpersonal impressions based on the obesity rate at the country level. One hundred twenty-seven contributors (86 men, 41 woman, Mage = 32.57, SD = 9.08) who were enrolled in crowdsourcing service (CrowdFlower) participated in an online questionnaire on Qualtrics. Participants were shown 7 silhouettes of female body shapes that were created based on BMI at five-point intervals from 10 to 40. They were then asked to rate their impressions about corpulence, warmth, sloppiness, delicateness, reliability, sense of cooperation, and healthiness. From the GPS data that is recorded in Qualtrics, we identified the locations (country) of the participants and divided them into two groups according to the obesity rate of their country: participants who lived in countries (30 countries, 90 participants) having more than a 15% obesity rate were placed in the high obesity rate group, and participants who lived in countries (seven countries, 37 participants) having less than a 15% obesity rate were placed in the low obesity rate group. The results for each group were then analyzed. Except for warmth, ratings for corpulence, sloppiness, delicateness, reliability, and healthiness varied according to the silhouettes’ BMI. The silhouettes with high BMI tended to be rated as being sloppy, rough and unhealthy, but not warm. These results differed from the previous study. In addition, the obesity rate had little influence on the association between body shape information and interpersonal impression. Therefore, our hypothesis that negative stereotypes would be difficult to observe in areas with high obesity rates was not supported. The perception that obese people are warm may be found specifically among Japanese youth and may differ in other countries. Vartanian (2010) insists that feelings of disgust based on a fear of infection best explain weight prejudice. Outside of Japan, the strong influence of feelings of disgust for obese people might determine how and to what extent knowledge of positive stereotypes is used.
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