Impact of perceived consensus on stereotypes about obese people: a new approach for reducing bias

Health Psychol. 2005 Sep;24(5):517-25. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.5.517.


In 3 experiments, the authors tested the effect of perceived social consensus on attitudes toward obese people. Participants completed self-report measures of attitudes toward obese people prior to and after manipulated consensus feedback depicting attitudes of others. In Study 1 (N=60), participants decreased negative and increased positive stereotypes after learning that others held more favorable attitudes toward obese people. In Study 2 (N=55), participants improved attitudes when they learned about favorable attitudes of obese people from an in-group versus an out-group source. In Study 3 (N=200), a consensus approach was compared with other stigma reduction methods. Social consensus feedback influenced participants' attitudes and beliefs about causes of obesity. Providing information about the uncontrollable causes of obesity and supposed scientific prevalence of traits also improved attitudes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Mass Index
  • Consensus*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / psychology*
  • Prejudice*
  • Social Conformity
  • Social Desirability
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Perception
  • Stereotyping*
  • Students / psychology