Essay Self Awareness and Dieting

Essay Self Awareness and Dieting

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In a 1998 article for the Journal of Applied Psychology, Stacey Sentyrz and Brad Bushman of Iowa State University hypothesized that the self-awareness theory could be used to assist dieters in achieving and maintaining their weight loss. Self-awareness theory is defined by Duval and Wickland (1972) as self-focused attention that leads people to compare their behavior to internal standards. The researchers used a two part, two location study, applying both laboratory and naturalistic observations and a survey of the participants. Sentyrz and Bushman (1998) asserted that there was a marked difference in the consumption of full-fat verses the healthier choices; “in both studies, individuals in the mirror group are less of the full-fat product than did those in the no-mirror group” (p 994).
The researchers used two different populations to conduct their experiment; a group of undergraduate psychology students receiving extra credit for participating and shoppers in two local supermarkets. In both studies an equal number of adult men and women were tested. Children were excluded in the supermarket observation as the adults chose what items the children tasted. In both studies for half the groups a mirror was present along with the observers. Data was analyzed by the researchers using a multivariate regression analysis and a hierarchical analysis of sets. The researchers pointed out that “the model also included two- and three-way interactions between the manipulated self-awareness variable (i.e., mirror) and the measured participant variables (i.e., diet status, sex). These interactions were computed as multiplicative products of the main effects” (Sentyrz and Bushman 946).
Participants in study 1 were the undergrads; they rated st...

... middle of paper ...

... healthier choices.
Slight changes in the way that the studies were conduct could give more accurate findings. This would certainly be a research project worth revisiting since in the ensuing decade and a half since this study was done there have been fast improvements in the quality of the products used in the experiment. Another set of experiments with a vastly different demographic could confirm the hypothesis of Sentyrz and Bushman, along with continuing study and confirmation of the self-awareness theory.

Works Cited

Duval, S. & Wickland, R.A.. A Theory of Objective Self-Awareness. New York: Academic Press. 1972. Print.
Sentyrz, S. & Bushman, B. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Thinnest One of All? Effects of Self-Awareness on Consumption of Full-Fat, Reduced-Fat, and No-Fat Products.” . Journal of Applied Psychology. Vol 83, No 6, p 944-949.

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