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What Makes People Read Magazines with Ideal Bodies?

Research from the Ohio State University raises an important question that why people like to read magazines or watch programs which leave them dissatisfied. These magazines feature the images of models with perfect figure and highlight the readers’ own physical flaws. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, Associate Professor (Communication), found that people who are not happy with their physical appearance will usually avoid looking at the ideal bodies in the magazine. However, if the pictures contain information that they too can have that kind of body then they might look at it.

169 young people were studied in the research. They were asked questions related to body satisfaction and other areas of life. They were also shown magazines with images of models with ideal body and average body. It was observed that people who were not happy with their bodies spent around 50% more time viewing ideal bodies with the tips on body improvement compared to the images which do not have any content on body improvement.

Knobloch-Westerwick feels that people will look at the pictures of ideal bodies if they feel that they too can have the ideal body. The images inspire them to improve their body shape. On the other hand, people satisfied with their bodies do not avoid looking at the pictures even without the article. These images do not inspire them. This difference has nothing to do with the gender of the person but with the satisfaction factor. The study is published in the journal Media Psychology.

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