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Title: Cognitive information processing biases and appearance adjustment : the role of the appearance self-schema
Author: Rosser, Benjamin Albert
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 8848
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2008
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Investigation of appearance adjustment issues has received increasing attention in recent times. However, research into associated cognitive processes and the theoretical underpinnings of adjustment has not received equivalent focus. Self-Schema theory has been proposed as a possible framework for understanding the development and maintenance of appearance concern. Although research has been conducted assessing whether appearance concerns can be conceptualised as a schema structure, this work has focused mainly on weight and shape-related appearance issues and has failed to adequately assess the multifaceted nature of the schema construct. The purpose of this program of research was to address these issues through assessment of a multitude of schematic attributes related to appearance and their potential information processing implications; thus, providing evaluation of the usefulness and applicability of appearance self-schemata in further our understanding of appearance concern. The first series of studies investigated organisation and content of appearance-related information within the self-concept to evaluate whether poor appearance adjusters exhibited structuring consistent with the schema construct. The results suggest that higher levels of appearance concern are associated with increased salience, negative valence and elaboration of appearance information. These findings are consistent with predictions based on self-schema theory. The second series of studies investigated differences in processing of appearance-related information. Interpretation of ambiguous stimuli, attention towards specific information, speed of processing, and context-specificity of processing biases were evaluated and related to adjustment level. A variety of methodologies were employed to assess these variables including the dot-probe task and context-priming tasks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available