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The effect of exposure to positive/negative media on body image

The effect of exposure to positive/negative media on body image

Sample Answer 

The effect of exposure to positive/negative media on body image


  1. Background

Media exposure significantly influences people’s beliefs, attitudes, and perceptions of different things in life. The type of content to which a person is exposed affects their psychological and social well-being. Through the media, people gain knowledge, form opinions, strengthen opinions, and develop attitudes toward certain things. These factors, in turn, affect their behaviors. Therefore, many choices that people make concerning their personal life and environment are highly influenced by their exposure to the media. Generally, the media is the most powerful tool for developing and upholding social ideals that influence how people see themselves. This research aims to examine the influence of media exposure on body image. The research investigates how positive and negative media exposure influences people’s self-perception and ideals of body image.

  1. Literature Review

Several studies have been done investigating the media’s impact on setting ideal body image standards. According to Fardouly & Vartanian (2016), social media has played an important role in shaping the social perceptions of body image. Facebook and Instagram, in particular, are social media sites that have influenced how people view bodies. Members of the public have commonly used these media channels to represent what is considered to be the ideal standard of an attractive body. People on social media often use applications to edit their bodies so that they can represent an almost perfect image to their followers. Such exposure causes people to develop unrealistic standards of beauty. This, in turn, causes them to see their normal bodies negatively.

Grabe, Ward, & Hyde also examined the impact of mass media on body image. This study found that ideal representations of body image in mass media have influenced how women see their bodies. Many women see this body image as something that needs to be at par with the narrow image of beauty that has often been presented in mass media, such as films, magazines, and music videos. Women tend to internalize the standards of body image presented in the media and then live for those ideals. This problem often leads to mental health issues, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

While many studies have connected body image issues relating to the media with women, there are also studies showing the impact of media representation on men. Media images can affect how men view physical appearance in relation to masculinity. Carper, Negy, & Tantleff-Dunn, (2010) found that men are likely to develop their image of masculinity based on how it is represented in the media. Media exposure affects how they see body image and connect it to their sexuality. Therefore, they may try to live according to the standards that have been presented as normal.

The impact of media exposure on body image has been theorized in the media persuasion theory, which examines the extent to which mass media affects people’s perceptions and behaviors. Media persuasion theory examines how messages sent through mass media change the attitudes of the receivers of the messages. Media persuasion theories argue that media exposure is a primary force influencing people’s perceptions and behaviors (Larson, 2018). This influence can include how people perceive their bodies based on the body representations in mass media. Therefore, it is important to influence how different types of media exposure can influence how people perceive their bodies.

  1. Purpose of the Research

There already exists a lot of studies that demonstrate the impact of media exposure on self-image. Body image is influenced by the narrow representation of what should be the acceptable body image in the media. However, there is a limitation in research showing how media exposure can be controlled to minimize the media’s negative effect on body image. This research aims to examine how positive and negative media exposure have different influences on the self-image of the recipients of mass media.

  1. Relevance of the Study

The media is an important part of human life today. A majority of people in the world today consume at least one form of media. It is, therefore, important to study the extent to which this exposure influences the lives of the consumers of media. Past research confirms that media exposure can impact the body image of media consumers. This research aims to investigate how the type of media exposure influences the message’s impact on the target audience. This research will be important in planning the regulation of media exposure to different audiences. For instance, parents can learn how to regulate the type of information to which they expose their children because of their understanding of either the positive or the negative influence of the exposure on their children’s body image.

  1. Research Question and Hypothesis

This research investigates whether positive and negative media exposure have different effects on the participants’ body image. The research question to be answered includes; does positive media exposure positively affect body image?


Positive media exposure positively influences body image.

Negative media exposure negatively influences body image.

  1. Methods
    1. Participants

The participants of this study will be men and women between the ages of 17 and 40. The participants will be selected from online social media sites to participate in an online survey of the impact of social media exposure on their perceptions of body image.

The selection of the participants will be random. Random selection is a precise procedure that gives each member of the population an equal chance of being selected for the study. The researcher randomly chooses people from the population. Random sampling is appropriate for this study because it enhances the external validity of the results. The research results are more likely to accurately represent what is happening in the entire population if the selection is random. Additionally, random selection eliminates the risks of confirmation bias. Confirmation bias occurs when people choose samples that will likely confirm their already existing beliefs about whatever is being studied. For instance, if the researcher already believes that media exposure has a negative effect on body image perceptions, they might choose participants who already have body image issues that stem from mass media consumption. Random selection ensures that the study has an equal chance of getting diverse viewpoints from the population to represent the same diversity as found in the entire population.

  1. Design

The design of this research is a cross-sectional study. A cross-sectional research is a strategy for social research that examines data in a population or a subset of the population at a given point in time. This study design examines how exposure to certain variables affect the target population. In this case, the study will investigate the impact of different kinds of media exposure on the perception of body image.

Cross-sectional study designs have certain advantages that make them appropriate for this research. First, this design is relatively easy and fast to implement. A cross-sectional design does not include the use of any interventions on the population. The researcher simply collects the information they need from the population. Therefore, the application of this study design will make the research process easy to implement. Additionally, this is an appropriate study design to investigate multiple exposures and outcomes. A cross-sectional study can investigate more than one variable at a time. Therefore, it is easier to use this design to examine the impact of different types of media exposure and the influence that they have had on the population. Lastly, cross-sectional studies are appropriate for descriptive analyses. This design will be good for defining the impact of social media on body image and determining whether this impact is positive or negative.

However, it is also important to note the limitations of this design and how they might affect the results of the research. One of the limitations of this study is that it may make it difficult to establish the relationship between exposure and the outcomes. Sometimes, there is a possibility that the outcome led to exposure or the exposure led to the outcome. It is difficult to accurately tell this relationship. For example, it may be challenging to determine whether the media affects perceptions of body image or whether it is the perceptions that influence the kinds of media that people choose to consume. Another limitation of the cross-sectional study design is that it is susceptible to bias. It is possible for the research to be influenced by the researcher’s bias because they may find information that confirms their hypothesis. This kind of bias will be eliminated in the selection process. The participants will be randomly selected to reduce the possibility that the researcher will be choosing participants to confirm the hypothesis.

  1. Data Collection

The data collection technique to be used in this study is a survey. The participants will answer a questionnaire examining their media consumption and body image. The main measure that will be used in this study is the Sociocultural Attitudes towards Appearance Questionnaire Third Edition (SATAQ-3). This is a 30-item self-reported questionnaire that examines how the media influences body image. This questionnaire is commonly used as a measure of societal influence on body image. This study, will be used to examine how media affects the participants’ body image.

SATAQ-3 is a strong tool for evaluating body image. This measure has been studied in the past and found to have a high score of validity and reliability as a measure of social influences of body image. The fact that this tool is self-reported is one of its main strengths. The population being studied has the best chance of reporting on the influences of media exposure on their body image perceptions and attitudes. Therefore, it is great that the tool will be used to determine how mass media have influenced the participants. Additionally, this questionnaire is available in several translations. This makes it an appropriate tool for examining the impact of media on a larger population. However, this tool is limited by the fact that it does not guarantee honesty. There is a chance that people may not provide accurate answers. Preexisting knowledge of media influences on body image may cause the participants to provide answers that they believe the researcher is looking for rather than their honest view of the impact of media on body image. This limitation affects the accuracy of the results that will be recorded at the end of this study.

  1. Procedures

The procedure of this study’s data collection will be done entirely online. The researcher will announce the study on a social media site. Participants will sign up for the study if they voluntarily wish to participate. A random selection of participants from the selection of people who will choose to participate will be done. The participants will be redirected to another site where they will answer the SATAQ-3 questionnaire. The researcher will then evaluate the results of the questionnaires and present the results in the results section of this study.

  • Conclusion

In conclusion, there is a relationship between media exposure and body image. Past studies have shown that the narrow representations of body images on mass media influence people’s attitudes toward body types. This study aims to investigate how different types of media exposure can influence perceptions of body image. This study hypothesizes that positive media exposure can cause positive influences on body image, and negative exposure will cause negative body image attitudes and perceptions. There is a possibility that media regulation can cause more positive views of body image. Therefore, the results of this study will be used to improve media exposure. 


Carper, T. L. M., Negy, C., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2010). Relations among media influence, body image, eating concerns, and sexual orientation in men: A preliminary investigation. Body image7(4), 301-309.

Fardouly, J., & Vartanian, L. R. (2016). Social media and body image concerns: Current research and future directions. Current opinion in psychology9, 1-5.

Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: a meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological bulletin134(3), 460.

Larson, C. (2012). Persuasion: Reception and responsibility. Nelson Education.


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The effect of exposure to positive/negative media on body image

Final Research Proposal Overview—

You will develop a research question and then design an appropriate empirical study to test and
address the selected research question(s). You will not need to actually run the study this
semester, but it should be something that could be run in the future.
The focus of this paper is on the research methods that you chose to implement but there are
other key components required, such as: a clear, well–‐defined, empirical research question,
conceptual variables, operational definitions, sampling and recruitment procedures, selection of
appropriate instruments and measurements, etc.
This project is a shortened version of an actual research proposal that would be created before
you would conduct a research project. It may be used to inform your own future research,
including possible studies for the Experimental Psychology course.

The effect of exposure to positive-negative media on body image

The effect of exposure to positive-negative media on body image

Learning Objectives

This assignment has several learning objectives. These include providing you with an
opportunity to:
 Identity and refine an empirically testable research question
 Use the MGA Library and/or Google Scholar to search academic journals
 Read, critically review, and summarize research articles as relevant to your research
 Format a paper using APA style and references
 Develop and document the methodology for conducting an empirical study
 Identify the methodological strengths and limitations of a research project
General Formatting Information
 This paper must be no longer than 12 pages in length (excluding the title page and
any appendices). Most will be between 8-12 pages.
 You must double space
 You must use 12-point Times New Roman font
 You must follow all requirements of APA formatting
 We will discuss APA style in class, and it will be covered in Chapter 11 of your
textbook. You may also wish to purchase the APA style manual, though this is

Number and Type of Variables to Include
 Your final proposal must include at least 3 variables. This can be 2 independent variables
(IVs) and one dependent variable (DV), it can be 1 IV and 2 DVs, or it can include more
complicated combinations.
 Your IVs can be of any type (experimental manipulations, validated questionnaire scores
from a survey, etc.)

 All variables will need to have operational definitions, which means you have to define
exactly how you would measure or manipulate them. You should base this on previous
research, not just on your own intuitions. That is, you’ll find previous research that has
measured or manipulated this variable and simply propose to measure or manipulate it in
a similar way. This is not cheating, it is how science is done!
Recommended/Pre-Approved Topics

You will select a topic of interest to you that can be proposed and could be conducted by an
undergraduate researcher in an ethical manner. I have selected a list of pre-approved topics from
which you may choose. That list is below:

A Few Research Project Ideas (most from Previous Semesters)

1. Effect of annual income and attire on perceived attractiveness
2. The effect of a mood manipulation on prosocial behavior
3. The effect of a touch on the shoulder on tipping behavior (could be another manipulation
besides touch, or another behavior besides tipping)
4. The effect of encouraging statements on [math] performance
5. The effect of music on self-reported anxiety and physiological indices of anxiety (heart rate)
6. The effect of exposure to positive/negative media on body image
7. The effect of chewing gum on memory or executive function
8. The effect of test format and perfectionism on test anxiety
9. The use of expressive writing to reduce test anxiety
10. The effect of medium (e.g., paper vs. digital) on reading time and reading comprehension
11. Effect of stress and personality on executive function
12. The effect of labelling or name branding on product preference
13. The effect of color on taste perception (e.g., M&Ms)
14. Individual differences in false memory formation
15. Relationships between self-efficacy and active vs. passive procrastination

You may wish to come up with your own idea, which is great but not necessary. If so, you’ll
need to get that idea approved by Dr. Hinze to make sure it is something that will work for the

Components of the Process and Due Dates
To complete this assignment you will need to do the following:
1. Identify a specific topic of interest within the field of psychology to use as your
a. This will be due in Unit 2, with a possible update in Unit 3.
b. See above for a list of pre-approved topics, or choose your own (subject to approval)
2. Write an Introduction by reviewing the research literature on the topic using at least 4
articles from peer-­reviewed academic journals, and constructing hypotheses
 You will receive instruction on how to find and read articles and how to write in APA
style in Unit 5. You will have Unit 5 and Unit 6 to finish up your draft.

 The papers you choose must all relate directly to the topic you have chosen; do not just
take the easiest articles you can find, or articles that are only tangentially related, or you
will have difficulty making a strong argument.
 You need to obtain and actually read the articles you cite – I will be checking your
references. I may even ask you for a full text copy. If you include a paper in your
references but do not properly cite them or do not cite them at all, then you will lose
points on the final paper.
 Other reference materials can also be used as long as they come from credible sources
(e.g., academic books, credible websites are okay; Wikipedia or Yahoo! Answers are
not), and appropriate APA citations are provided. But these do not count toward your 4
 Based on this review, you will come up with a research hypothesis (or hypotheses) for
your study.
3. Finish your draft by writing a Method section where you design an ethically sound and
feasible research study capable of providing empirical data to answer to your question
o Your rough draft is due in Unit 6. You will receive feedback on this in Unit 7.
o “Ethically sound” means that you have carefully addressed all of the major ethical
concerns that might arise –‐ ask yourself whether you would participate in such a study
or whether you would allow your mother or child to participate.
o “Feasible” means that you could accomplish the task within the economic, population,
and time limitations of an MGA student. For example, an MRI study is not possible
without hundreds of thousands of dollars. Also, a longitudinal study involving a
comparison of hundreds of twins separated at birth sounds great but couldn’t be
accomplished as an undergraduate project.
o Make sure that your methods are capable of providing empirical data to directly address
your research question
o Your study can be experimental, correlational, or quasi-experimental, but note that there
are advantages and disadvantages to each as we will learn this semester.
4. Receive and respond to feedback on your rough draft
a. I am not expecting your rough drafts to be perfect by any means, and will send along
feedback the following week.
b. You will then edit your proposals based on this feedback
5. Submit your final draft
a. This will be due at the end of finals week

Below is a brief overview of what is expected in each part of your proposal. You will receive
instruction on each of these later in the semester. You may begin but are not required to work on them now.

1. Title page
o Include all information required for APA style
o We will work with an APA style template which will tell you what to include!
2. Introduction (about 3-4 pages)
o Good introductions “sell” your specific research study– by the time someone gets
finished reading your introduction they should already know what your study is going to
address and should know why it is important. Sometimes this is referred to as a
“cognitive hook.”
o In the opening of the introduction you need to clearly demonstrate why your general topic
is important — often researchers do this by citing statistics on the prevalence or
significance of their given problem. Note: you describe why this is important in general,
to society or to psychological science, not to you specifically.
o You will then write a literature review describing previous research on the topic.
o It is important to not just summarize previous research, but to use this research as
background to create an argument in support of your study. A good argument has several
related points derived from a literature review that lead to a clear reason for conducting
your study. For example:
o The use of teams and group work is prevalent in school and in the workplace
o Effectiveness of group work is important for organizational success
o Conscientiousness is a personality trait that has been found to be linked to
increased individual work performance
o One possible role for conscientiousness in this context is on social loafing
behavior (decreased performance in a group)
o We need to understand if personality traits like conscientiousness prevent workers
from social loafing
o The current study explores the relationship between conscientiousness and social
loafing, and whether these affect performance in a group-work scenario.
o Notice how the outline is shaped like a pyramid, it starts out broad and narrows to a
specific topic and question, and introduces the current study.
o Using an outline like above you can easily develop each of these bullet points into full
paragraphs – this is where you weave in what you learned from reviewing the 4+ articles
you collect on your topic
o Each of your variables should have clear definitions, and you should discuss why it is
important to your study. For the example above you would want to cite sources regarding
conscientiousness, regarding group work, and regarding social loafing. A variable should
not show up in the method section without any information on it in the introduction.
o In the closing of the intro you should clearly state your research question and your
research hypotheses, or what you expect to find.
o Please note that scientific papers rarely use quotes –‐ be prepared to paraphrase or
generalize the work of other scientists and reference them accordingly.

o The general rule for this class is no quotes allowed. The only reason to use quotes
is to highlight something specific about the language being used by a previous
author. Please note that if you do take direct quotes from an original work, you
must put quotation marks around them, and reference a specific page number.
Note that this rule does not mean to simply remove the quotation marks from your
quotations! Use your own words, and not the words from your readings.

3. Method (about 3-4 pages)
o The methodology section is where you give exacting details on how your study would be
o A well‐written method section is like an instruction manual. If someone unfamiliar with
your topic can read your methods and immediately conduct the study on their own
without asking you any questions then you have done a good job
o Subsections in the methods are used to describe your: participants, design, materials, and
procedures necessary for conducting the study.
o I will provide a specific list of components that need to be in your method section

o, Note that your method should not just be made up. You should base it on previous
literature. Take an existing methodology, questionnaire, or test, and use it for your own
purposes. Do not reinvent the wheel!
4. References (1-2 pages)
o You should have a separate reference page that provides citations for all of the sources
you used in your document
o Do not list a reference here unless you cite it directly in the text of the report
o Once again, careful adherence to APA citation style is critical for full credit
o We will cover proper APA reference style in Unit 5.
5. Appendix (optional; varies in length)

o In designing your study you will likely need to find some sort of a survey, observational
rating scale, or other materials. You do not need to create these yourself, but are
encouraged to use valid measures from other researchers.
o If you find these materials, you will want to include them in an appendix. This will be
especially important so you (and I) can access the materials this semester or after.
o Note: if your full materials are available online, it is appropriate to provide a link in the
appendix in lieu of reproducing the materials in the Word document.

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