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Equivalence class formation and transfer of function with fat and thin biotypes in college students: an investigation of fatphobia

Grant number: 18/21840-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2019
Effective date (End): December 31, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Experimental Psychology
Principal Investigator:Júlio César Coelho de Rose
Grantee:Giovana Coral Crepaldi
Host Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50909-8 - INCT 2014: Behavior, Cognition and Teaching (INCT-ECCE): relational learning and symbolic functioning, AP.TEM


The stimulus equivalence paradigm has been an important way to simulate symbolic relations in the laboratory. Its use has enabled, among other things, to study prejudice and attitude change. By training relations such as "fat-lazy" and "lazy-bad", it is possible that the relation "fat-bad" emerges without any direct training of this relation. In the context of research on gender issues and body types, some studies have shown that women who deviate more from the ideal body pattern tend to suffer more discrimination than men do. In this view, we intend to use the stimulus equivalence paradigm to (1) investigate if participants (men and women) are capable of forming equivalence classes between female body types and abstract stimuli, (2) to observe if there will be transfer of functions and (3) if there will be differences in the attribution of meanings towards the body types depending on the participant's sex. Twenty college students will be divided into two groups, one with men and other with women. Participants will be trained to relate fat and skinny female body types with abstract stimuli. Then, it would be verified if equivalence class formation and transfer of functions would occur. The Function Acquisition Speed Test (FAST) will be used as an implicit cognition measure, and two self-report measures will also be used: the Semantic Differential Scale, that will be used to evaluate the meanings of experimental stimuli and then, an adaptation of a Fat Phobia Scale, to check what adjectives are used to describe fat individuals.

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