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OCR Psychology Assignment coursework

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Introduction

Assignment Word Count: 998 The article "Fashion company's shock tactics in the fight against size zero" appeared on the Daily Mail's Website on Tuesday, September 25th 2007. 1. Assumptions The first psychological assumption is that the use of shock tactics by way of an image portraying a naked anorexic woman will "jolt the fashion industry into action over the problem of anorexia". The article suggests that the use of strong fear appeal will be enough to provoke behavioural change and an awareness of the illness. A fear appeal is a technique used to persuade an audience into behaving in a particular way by arousing a fear of the consequences of not following the message given. The effect of fear appeals was studied by Janis and Feshback (1953). The second psychological assumption is that "the fashion industry and the obsession with stick-thin size zero models" is to blame for the increase in cases of anorexia. ...read more.

Middle

Evidence that supports the second assumption was provided by Albert Bandura (1965). Bandura showed three groups of children tapes of a man being aggressive towards a doll. The first group saw the man being rewarded for his actions, the second saw him being punished and the third were not shown any consequences. The children were then placed in a room with a similar doll and observed. Results of the study showed that children were significantly more likely to imitate aggressive behaviour when they had observed the model being rewarded. Bandura labelled this imitation "vicarious leaning." This forms part of the social learning theory suggesting that behaviour is learnt through observation and imitation. This supports the second assumption as people observing models within the fashion industry witness them being rewarded for being thin with fame and fortune, and subsequently imitate their behaviour in order to gain the same rewards. They try to be as thin as the models by starving themselves and consequently become anorexic, as the article would suggest. ...read more.

Conclusion

If people are exposed to healthier-looking models, people may develop healthier eating habits. This however assumes that size 0 models are ill, and could be perceived as discrimination against healthy individuals. There may be resistance against this motion from the fashion industry and models themselves. In relation to the third assumption, Kjels�s et al's study suggests that males are also susceptible to anorexia. Therefore people need to be made aware of this to increase the perceived susceptibility, especially in males. Health promotion could include information on male anorexia, and contain pictures of male sufferers who are willing to share their stories. If awareness of anorexia in males is raised and the stereotype of it being a typically female disease scrapped, then the number of males who seek help will increase. However if males do not perceive themselves susceptible they are unlikely to choose to read the health promotion in the first place as they believe it to be a female disease. ...read more.

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