Why people read magazines featuring ‘ideal’ bodies

March 16th, 2011 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 16 (IANS) New research reveals why people read fitness and fashion magazines featuring photos of reed thin or muscular models whose appearance highlight the readers’ own flaws.

People who are unhappy with their physical appearance feel even more dissatisfied when they are shown photos of models who have “ideal” bodies.

Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, associate professor of communication at Ohio State University, found the answer through an ingenious experiment that measured how long people looked at pictures of models, the journal Media Psychology reports.

Results showed that people who are dissatisfied with their appearance will indeed avoid these photos. Unless the photos are surrounded by articles suggesting that they, too, can look like those models, according to an Ohio State statement.

“A lot of these magazines and television programs will tell you that if you go on this diet, or do this exercise program, you will lose weight or gain muscle,” Knobloch-Westerwick said.

“That’s the key. People will view these photos if they feel like they can achieve this ideal. In that case, these models with the ideal bodies can serve as source of inspiration to improve one’s own body shape.”

Knobloch-Westerwick conducted the research with Joshua Paul Romero, a former graduate student at Ohio State. It involved 169 young adults who took part in a two-session study.

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