April 20, 2010
Perception: Skinny People Aren’t Lazy But Overweight People Are
Research at the University of Alberta shows that when a thin person is seen laying down watching television, people assume they're resting. But when people see an overweight person relaxing, it's automatically assumed they're lazy and unmotivated.
Tanya Berry, from the U of A's Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, says these stereotypes about overweight people need to be addressed. Berry says just because a person is overweight, it doesn't mean they don't exercise, and just because a person is thin, it doesn't mean they are fit and healthy.
Berry says the research is important because stereotypes can influence the way people behave. She believes that more awareness of stereotypes can help people counter the effects. For example, if you're aware that you hold a stereotype about a couch potato you're less likely to be negatively influenced by those stereotypes.
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