Facial reactions reveal that slim is good but fat is not bad: Implicit and explicit measures of body-size bias


Ian Stewart, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway City, Ireland.

E-mail: ian.stewart@nuigalway.ie


Facial electromyography (EMG) was used to gauge emotional responding towards images of slim and overweight individuals, and findings were compared with data from a series of alternative measures including two implicit attitudinal procedures, the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and the Implicit Association Test (IAT), and explicit measures of anti-fat prejudice and discriminatory behavior. Images of slim individuals elicited EMG responses consistent with more positive affect. Data from both the IRAP and IAT indicated higher levels of bias than were revealed on the explicit measures, and the IRAP also corroborated the EMG pattern by indicating responses consistent with pro-slim rather than anti-fat bias. The IRAP was moderately correlated with both EMG and the IAT and was the only measure to predict behavioral intentions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.