5 QuestionIs physical beauty important?Answer: Not reallyAnswer (academia): NO!!“Many intellectuals would have us believe that beauty is inconsequential … Since it explains nothing, solves nothing, and teaches us nothing, it should not have a place in intellectual discourse”(Etcoff, 1999)
6 Preferential Treatment “My fourth Cosmetic Discovery occurred at 18 … I awoke to a realization that would take a long time to play out, but in essence Cosmetic Discovery #4 was this: if you’re a young, blue-ribbon egg-bearer, there’s nothing you can’t get away with. Nobody who hasn’t been there has any idea, and even those who have won’t really understand until after the stampede [of sperm-bearers] has passed because there’s so much dust in the air”(supermodel Lauren Hutton, 1995)
7 Behavioral Evidence “What is beautiful is good” Advantages afforded to the physically attractivePhysical attractiveness stereotypePreferential treatment
8 Biological Basis of Beauty “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?”Evolutionary psychologyHumans are driven to select mates who will give them the greatest likelihood of healthy, abundant offspring (Buss, 1989)Healthy mates produce healthy offspringPhysical beauty is a health certification
9 Pathogen-Resistance Theory beauty is a physiologic burden that only a strong body can support
10 An example (secondary sex characteristics) Facial attractivenessWomen - smallness in lower face is attractiveMen - largeness in lower face is attractiveHormonesWomen - estrogen caps growth of lower face during pubertyMen - testosterone growth of lower face during pubertySex hormones are immunosupressorsonly immunocompetent individuals can afford the expression of secondary sex characteristics
11 David Buss (1989) Mate selection Cross-cultural research (33 countries)Consistently across samples:Men preferred younger matesStrong women preferred older matesMen placed stronger value of physical attractiveness than womenWomen placed stronger value on “good financial prospect” than menImportance of attractiveness correlated positively with the prevalence of parasitic disease across societies.
12 Body Image “the psychological experience of one’s own body” Body image is multifaceted…PerceptualCognitiveAffectiveBehavioral
13 Body Image Measurement “the psychological experience of one’s own body”Body image measurement is multifaceted…Perceptual (body size estimation)Cognitive (attainability, perceived control)Affective (body dissatisfaction)Behavioral (grooming, checking, etc)
14 Figure Rating ScalesBody dissatisfaction = discrepancy between actual and ideal.
15 Body-Self Relations Questionnaire Lower scores = higher body dissatisfactionMy body is sexually appealingI like my looks just the way they areMost people would consider me good lookingI like the way I look without my clothesI dislike my physique*I’m physically unattractive*(*reverse code)
16 Physical Appearance Trait Anxiety Scale Higher scores = higher body dissatisfactionIn general, I feel anxious, nervous or tense about:The extent to which I look overweight My earsMy thighs My lipsMy buttocks My wristsMy hips My handsMy stomach My foreheadMy legs My neckMy waist My chinMy muscle tone My feet(1 = never, 2 = seldom, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = always)
17 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image? Overall Appearance DissatisfactionWomen 23% 38% 56%Men % 34% 43%Garner (1997)
18 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image? Mid-Torso DissatisfactionWomen 50% 57% 71%Men % 50% 63%Garner (1997)
19 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image? Lower-Torso DissatisfactionWomen 49% 50% 61%Men % 21% 29%Garner (1997)
20 Epidemiology How prevalent is a negative body image? Upper-Torso DissatisfactionWomen 27% 32% 34%Men % 28% 38%Garner (1997)
21 Consequences? Psychopathology Body Dysmorphic Disorder Preoccupation with an imagined defect in appearance; causes distress/impaired functioningEating DisordersAnorexia NervosaBulimia NervosaBinge-Eating Disorder
22 Consequences? Sub-Clinical Social relations Sexual functioning Starting SmokingLow self-esteem, depressive symptomsEating behaviors (dieting, binging, purging)Avoidance of exerciseLearning and cognitionCosmetic surgery
23 Risk Factors - Body Dissatisfaction BiologicalBMIPhysical AttractivenessPsychologicalAppearance investment (importance)Internalization of societal idealsSocialDemographics (gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality)Sociocultural influences (family, peers, mass media)Cultural Ideals of Attractiveness (e.g., Tonga)
24 Media and girls’ body image Evidence from 5 sources:Content Analyses of Media Idealsthin-ideal is getting thinnerSelf-reportCorrelational Studies (no longitudinal yet)television exposureemulate media personalities / internalizationCross-Cultural StudiesExperimental StudiesMeta-Analysis of 25 studies (Groez et al., 2002)‘small but consistent’ negative effectcertain individuals particularly vulnerable
25 Media and boys’ body image Content Analyses (last 20 years)men more often topless in magazines (Pope et al., 2001)Playgirls centrefolds increasingly muscularaction toys increasingly muscular (Pope et al., 1999)But, Nivea for Men…“Dare to Care”Correlational Studiesexposure to entertainment TV (Anderson et al., 2001)emulate media personalities (Field et al., 2001)internalization of muscular ideal (Smolak et al., 2001)Experimental Studies...
26 Men’s Body Image“Unlike women, men labor under a social taboo against expressing such feelings. Real men aren’t supposed to whine about their looks; their not even supposed to worry about such things.”(Pope et al., 2000)
27 Male Body Image Sources of dissatisfaction Muscle Receding hair Fat (pot belly, love handles)Small penisOr some other perceived deficiency
28 Male Body Image Muscle Dysmorphia (BDD) Sometimes called reverse anorexiaPeople with muscle dysmorphia are ashamed of looking too small when they’re actually bigNeed to exercise every day, feelings of being too fat, dislike of their bodies, persist in exercising despite pain and injury
29 Male Body Image Body dissatisfaction is increasingly common in men Two recent societal changes:Threatened masculinityImages of the “roided” body have infiltrated media images and societal ideals(Pope et al., 2000)
30 Anabolic SteroidsFamily of drugs that contain the male hormone testosteroneIllegal unless prescribed, but widely available on black marketTaken orally or by injectionAllow user to gain muscle mass, far beyond that attainable without
31 Anabolic Steroids Medical hazards - increased risk of: Heart disease StrokeProstate cancerLeads to use of other drugs (become steroid dependant)pain killers to deal with aches and pains of liftingmorphine and heroin.
32 Anabolic Steroids Psychological effects Mood swings Irritability Short tempered, over react to situations, sudden bursts of aggression (roid rage)Psychotic delusions (plotting to harm)Personality changes (cockiness)Excess confidence, grandiose beliefs
33 Anabolic Steroids What can be done? Education Interdiction (law enforcement)Psychiatric treatment for usersRemove secrecy (steroid users are cheats)
34 Body Image - Treatment and Prevention What can be done?Change the bodyWeight lossPhysical exerciseCosmetic surgeryChange the body imageCBTPsychopharmacologyPsychoeducation
35 Treatment and Prevention What can be done?Prevention - ecological and activism approaches