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Dimensions of interpersonal perception among young women : self-categorisation theory to social influences upon dietary behaviour

posted on 2023-05-27, 14:02 authored by McCormack, Anna Louise
A card-sort task was used to investigate whether, consistent with current thinking on self-categorisation theory (SCT) (Tajfel, 1975; Turner et al., 1987), young women without external prompting dichotomise the continuum of female attractiveness to yield perceptions in terms of two categorical groups, \attractive\" and \"unattractive\". The project was split into three stages. In stages 1 and 2 50 female undergraduate students were asked to list rank in order of importance and describe the features of the various categories that they thought females fall into and which are socially significant and worth distinguishing between. In stage 3 the associated features of the five most common categorical attributes generated by participants - Intelligence Body Shape Attractiveness Sincerity and Friendliness - were built into the deck of cards for the card-sort task and used to determine which of those attributes contribute most powerfully to card sorting dimensions. 200 female undergraduate students were asked to study the pack of stimulus cards imagine the types of people described and then sort them into groups based on similarity. Each participant's level of Public Self Consciousness (PBSC) and Body Mass Index (BMI) was measured and the participants were split into four groups applying median splits to PBSC and BMI. It was predicted that relative to the other categorical attributes \"attractive\" and \"unattractive\" would feature prominently in participants' card sorts as indicated by multidimensional scaling analysis (MDS) but that the card-sorting process would also be influenced by participants' own BMI and level of PBSC. Participants were able to successfully generate a number of important categories that they felt young women fall into including 'Attractiveness' and 'Body Shape'. Low BMI participants placed significantly more emphasis on the resultant body shape MDS dimension than High BMI participants who appeared to value friendliness and sincerity over attractiveness and body shape. A close to significant difference between High and Low PBSC participants on the body shape dimension also suggested that High PBSC participants place more emphasis on the body shape dimension than Low PBSC participants. The findings suggest while attractiveness may indeed lie on a continuum it can also be categorized and that SCT is a useful framework for the well documented modelling of food choices in female eating interactions (Burtt 1994; Daly 2002; Eschler; 1999; Pettit 1998; McCormack 2004)."


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Copyright 2010 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MPsych(Clin))--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

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