Unspoken Cultural Influence: Exposure to and Influence of Nonverbal Bias

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Abstract

The authors examined the extent to which nonverbal behavior contributes to culturally shared attitudes and beliefs. In Study 1, especially slim women elicited especially positive nonverbal behaviors in popular television shows. In Study 2, exposure to this nonverbal bias caused women to have especially slim cultural and personal ideals of female beauty and to have especially positive attitudes toward slim women. In Study 3, individual differences in exposure to such nonverbal bias accounted for substantial variance in pro-slim attitudes, anti-fat attitudes, and personal ideals of beauty, even after controlling for several third variables. In Study 4, regional differences in exposure to nonverbal bias accounted for substantial variance in regional unhealthy dieting behaviors, even after controlling for several third variables.

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