A group of women in a new study seemed unlikely to have body image issues – at least their responses on a tried-and-true psychological screening presented no red flags.
That assessment changed when Brigham Young University researchers used MRI technology to observe what happened in the brain as these women viewed images of complete strangers.
If the stranger happened to be overweight and female, it surprisingly activated in women’s brains an area that processes identity and self-reflection. Men did not show signs of any self-reflection in similar situations.
“These women have no history of eating disorders and project an attitude that they don’t care about body image,” said Mark Allen, a BYU neuroscientist. “Yet under the surface is an anxiety about getting fat and the centrality of body image to self.”
Just as a practical matter we cannot remove any and every image, painting or film scene that would make a woman or anyone else have fleeting negative thoughts about themselves. That would seem like a nightmarish solution worse than the problem. Those negative feelings do not seem to motivate anyone to make positive changes in their activity and food choices as the U.S. is having an epidemic of obesity. It might be that some people see images of fit bodies – sometimes perfectly fit – a level of fitness they feel is impossible to obtain – so they do not even try. That seems like a common reaction people have toward one attribute or another. No matter how hard I study I’ll never be a Madame Curie. No matter how much I practice I’ll never be a Michael Jordan. So why bother. The joy and rewards of simply trying and reaching one’s personal potential are discounted all together.
“A random sample of black, white, and mixed-race faces was collected and rated for their perceived attractiveness. There was a small but highly significant effect, with mixed-race faces, on average, being perceived as more attractive.”
The study could also have wider implications than just attractiveness.
First established by Darwin in 1876, heterosis (or hybrid vigour) is a biological phenomenon that predicts that cross-breeding leads to offspring that are genetically fitter than their parents.
As heterosis is considered to be a universal biological effect, it is possible that humans are also subject to its influence and helps explain why mixed-race people appear more attractive.
Dr Lewis added: “The results appear to confirm that people whose genetic backgrounds are more diverse are, on average, perceived as more attractive than those whose backgrounds are less diverse. This can be taken as evidence for heterosis among human population groups.
“There is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that the impact of heterosis goes beyond just attractiveness.
There does seem to be – just speaking of anecdotal evidence – a lot of mixed race people in advertisements, especially magazine print ads. Just looking at those one would think those of mixed race are more attractive. The researchers used a random sample of 1205 black, white, and mixed-race faces to come to their conclusions. Whether it is cultural taboos or in some cases blatant racism there are still barriers to race mixing so whether these findings mean much in the long term is another question. The term melting pot to describe the blending of races has been written about since the 1780s and was used frequently during the late 1960s and 1970s in the U.S. Some were alarmed that such an occurrence would be the end of white hegemony. While others saw it as the potential to end small minded and petty racial barriers.
Do their brains understand the words that leave their mouths: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
We’re, we’re, we’re hoping that President Obama’s policies don’t succeed, exactly as you said. And of course, David Axelrod unfortunately seems to be wanting to smear people who disagree with the president. We’ve seen that over and over at Tea Party events, at gatherings where people say, “look, I don’t like this idea of out of control spending and accumulating deficits that our kids have no possibility of paying back.” And to think that those of us, we who disagree with that very ill-thought out idea are being smeared, I think that’s really wrong.
If the rallies that Bachmann has attended were simply about disagreeing we’d all be having one of those mythical civil debates you hear used to happen in the Land of Yore. One of the ground rules for such an event would be that Bachmann and her comrades would have to start telling the truth. Deficit & Debt: The Republican Legacy
U.S. Budget History
Jan’01: Bush Becomes President
$850 billion SURPLUS
Nov’04: Bush Re-Elected
$415 billion DEFICIT
Jan’09: Obama Becomes Pres.
$1.2 trillion DEFICIT
Republican Debt Legacy
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
Started: $1.6 trillion debt
Finished: $3.0 trillion debt
George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)
Started: $3.0 trillion debt
Finished: $4.3 trillion debt
George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Started: $5.8 trillion debt
Finished: $10.8 trillion debt
As Bush Jr. turned an $850 billion budget surplus into a $1.2 trillion dollar deficit, he became responsible, alone, for about 42% of the current national debt.
The last three Republican presidents have run on a platform of “out of control spending and accumulating deficits that our kids have no possibility of paying back”. Those three president have left the economy in shambles – Bush 43 being the all time champ. Though to be fair Congressional Republican deserve their share of credit or blame. It appears Bachmann and liked minded are to have us believe they are being sincere and honest – obviously a falsehood for anyone with 8th grade reading skills. Bachmann and the tea baggers would also have us believe that out of the 20 of 28 years they steered the economy was just practice. This time, this new far far Right iteration of conservatism will get it right. I’m a little tired of the far Right treating the country and the American people like some medieval science experiment. The Bachmann’s are never going to make gold from sea water and rat’s tails. Not now and not anytime in the future.