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Add to cart: an investigation of the efficiency of social comparisons to thin-ideal images in the context of online shopping

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posted on 2021-05-23, 09:55 authored by Alyssa Nicole Saiphoo
Recently, researchers have investigated the cognitive efficiency of social comparisons young women make to thin-ideal images. However, results have been mixed and methodology problematic (e.g. low ecological validity, lack of consideration for ethnicity). The purpose of the present study was to address these issues. Ninety-six Caucasian undergraduate females were exposed to thin-ideal images. These images were presented in the context of an online shopping experience, to create a more ecologically valid context. To investigate cognitive efficiency, cognitive load was manipulated by having participants memorize the colours of the models’ clothing items. Participants did not experience a decrease in appearance satisfaction when under high cognitive load, suggesting inefficiency. In contrast, an observed increase in negative mood under high load conditions may suggest efficiency. However, potential alternative explanations for this latter result include the non-specificity of the mood measure, the context the images were presented in, and task difficulty





Master of Arts



Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type