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Effects of Ideal Body Images--Translatable Across Gender and Culture?
Unformatted Document Text:  3 original theory are the following: Individuals have a drive to make self-evaluation; It is better to have an objective standard to make self-evaluation, but it is helpful to have similar others to compare if objective criteria is not available. The importance of social comparison lies in its impact in a person’s perceived well-being, which depends on the chosen comparison target (Pettigrew, 1967). What kind of comparison target is chosen from the comparison context is a fascinating topic to many researchers. A substantial body of research shows that people are cognitive misers, and they usually do not make a thorough search for related knowledge in order to make a comparison to evaluate something. In contrast, they like to use the most available information as references to do comparison. Images that readily come to people’s minds are the most likely to become the comparison standard to influence the subsequent social judgment. Considering the popularity and the vividness of advertising images in our lives, it is reasonable to expect that many advertising images are on the top of our memory bins and are potential to be used as comparison references. Research on body images (Harrison, 2000) confirmed that heavy viewers of mass media are more likely to express dissatisfaction in their body images. The explanation provided by the researcher is that media depict too many beautiful and lean models, and compared to these uncommon beauties, female viewers may lower their body satisfaction. Richins (1991) also found that people do use advertising images as the references to compare with themselves. The present study is to examine the effects of the forced upward comparison by exposing the participants to ads featuring ideal models. Considering the frequency of encounters with ads in daily life, clearly this kind of forced upward comparison is not

Authors: Xue, Fei., Zhou, Shuhua. and Zhou, Peiqin.
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original theory are the following: Individuals have a drive to make self-evaluation; It is
better to have an objective standard to make self-evaluation, but it is helpful to have
similar others to compare if objective criteria is not available. The importance of social
comparison lies in its impact in a person’s perceived well-being, which depends on the
chosen comparison target (Pettigrew, 1967).
What kind of comparison target is chosen from the comparison context is a
fascinating topic to many researchers. A substantial body of research shows that people
are cognitive misers, and they usually do not make a thorough search for related
knowledge in order to make a comparison to evaluate something. In contrast, they like to
use the most available information as references to do comparison. Images that readily
come to people’s minds are the most likely to become the comparison standard to
influence the subsequent social judgment. Considering the popularity and the vividness of
advertising images in our lives, it is reasonable to expect that many advertising images
are on the top of our memory bins and are potential to be used as comparison references.
Research on body images (Harrison, 2000) confirmed that heavy viewers of mass media
are more likely to express dissatisfaction in their body images. The explanation provided
by the researcher is that media depict too many beautiful and lean models, and compared
to these uncommon beauties, female viewers may lower their body satisfaction. Richins
(1991) also found that people do use advertising images as the references to compare
with themselves.
The present study is to examine the effects of the forced upward comparison by
exposing the participants to ads featuring ideal models. Considering the frequency of
encounters with ads in daily life, clearly this kind of forced upward comparison is not


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