Application of the MODE model to implicit weight prejudice and its influence on expressed and actual behavior among college students


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Catalina Lawsin, School of Psychology, Brennan MacCallum Building (A18), University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia. E-mail:


Weight prejudice and discrimination were examined in students, using the motivation and opportunity as determinants (MODE) model. The personalized Implicit Association Test (pIAT) and Motivation to Control Prejudiced Reactions (MCPR) scale were used to predict subsequent expressed and actual behavior, measured by an election task and a lost e-mail task. Thematic analysis of qualitative responses was conducted to determine reasons participants discriminated against obesity. The MODE model did not predict the prejudice–behavior relationship; however, expressed weight prejudice and discrimination were highly prevalent. Of the participants, 21.2% explicitly stated that candidates' weight influenced their voting behavior. The MODE model was concluded to be an inappropriate model for weight prejudice. Implications for future research are discussed.