Journal of Psychological Science ›› 2022, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (5): 1190-1197.

Previous Articles     Next Articles

An Indigenous Research on Social Bias of Evaluating the Obese People


  • Received:2020-05-12 Revised:2020-12-17 Online:2022-09-20 Published:2022-09-20
  • Contact: BIN ZUO



  1. 1. 武汉城市职业学院
    2. 新乡医学院
    3. 华中师范大学心理学院
    4. 华中师范大学
  • 通讯作者: 佐斌

Abstract: The obese people are regarded as the last socially acceptable stigma group in western society, prejudice and discrimination against them are widespread and open. In the past 30 years, the proportion of obese people in China has doubled, ranked the first in the world. Obese people may not only face more personal health crisis, but also have to face more social psychological crisis. It's worth noting that there are relatively few indigenous researches on the social bias in the perspective of "how people view them" at present. Therefore, this study explores the basic problems of social bias such as stereotype, prejudice and discrimination of obese people in the current society. Stereotype belongs to social cognitive bias, pprejudice is the emotional response bias based on stereotype, while discrimination is the behavioural bias based on stereotype and prejudice. They are three closely related concepts in social bias. Accordingly, the present research consisted of three studies. Study 1 interested in the public perception of the characteristics of obese people by comparing qualitative and quantitative stereotypes of obese people. Study 2 used the Feeling Thermometer Scale and Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP) to explored the explicit and implicit attitude of obese people. Study 3 compared circumstances of the obese people in four common life situations (recruitment, taking taxt, dining and group tour), and investigated people's discrimination (behaviour tendency) towards obese people. The results show that: (1) People's trait nominations for obese people show a lot of positive traits of "high warmth", but rarely involvee the dimension of competence.The top 10 traits are: lovely, kindness, optimism, open, humorous, gentleness, mild, energetic, truthful and lively. Interestingly, the prototype of obese people is “ happy young man”. The quantitative stereotype evaluation of obese people shows moderate warmth and low competence. (2) The explicit attitude towards obese people is positive, while the implicit attitude is relatively negative. In short, people have implicit prejudice against obese people. (3) Compared to normal-sized people, the obese people encounter more uunfavourable treatments, and the situation of female obese people is the worst. From the view of indigenous culture, Chinese people's social bias towards obese people is complex and mixed generally. Chinese people have positive feeling to obese people in a certain extent, which is inconsistent with the results of European or American research on the "socially acceptable stigma group" of obese people. However, discrimination against obese people is still very common, especially when obesity combined with gender, discrimination is cross-situational. This complexity may stem from the cultural differences between China and other countries. When evaluating others or other groups, Chinese people consciously or even unconsciously to maintain the balance of interpersonal relationship. Primarily, obesity may has an unique cultural meaning in the mind of Chinese people.The obese people are often described as rich and affluence, and it always seems to have "a good life with few worries". On the other side of the shield, the world trend of taking obesity as ugliness and disease, may influence people’s behaviour preference toward obese people. This research is conducted from the perspective of "how do people view obese people", which may helps to clarify people's impressions, evaluations and behavioral tendencies towards obese people in indigenous culture.

Key words: obese people, social bias, stereotype, prejudice, discrimination

摘要: 通过三个研究从本土化视角探索人们对体胖者的社会性偏向特征。研究1采用访谈法和问卷法获得了被试对体胖者的刻板印象内容;研究2使用情感温度计和AMP范式对体胖者的外显与内隐偏见进行了测量;研究3通过情境测量对比人们在不同生活情境中对体胖者的行为反应。结果表明,中国被试对体胖者的刻板印象内容提名以高热情特质为主,刻板印象评价呈现低能力为主的特征;人们对体胖者没有外显偏见,但存在一定内隐偏见;社会生活情境中体胖者可能遭遇歧视,对女性体胖者的歧视程度更高。总体上,人们对体胖者的社会性偏向表现出复合性的本土化特征。

关键词: 体胖者, 社会性偏向, 刻板印象, 偏见, 歧视