What “thinspiration” is doing to your brain. And it’s pretty scary.

vogue editor

It’s no secret that the overload of reed-thin models in the media can affect our body image. But exposure to pictures of skinny models takes just 60 seconds to influence our views on beauty, according to a new study.

That’s just one minute to change our idea of what’s beautiful, folks.

Here’s how the study went down: participants were divided into two groups, and each group was asked to rate the attractiveness of images of women of various weights. One group was first shown images of plus-sized models for 60 seconds, while the other was primed with images of super-skinny models.

The results after just one minute of viewing the primer images? Well, they’re pretty confronting, as this video from Upworthy.com explains:

For those of you who can’t watch the video, this is what the study found:

The participants exposed to plus-sized models first found the larger models attractive, while those exposed to thin models chose women with a lower BMI as most beautiful. (The chosen BMI was 16.9, to be exact. That’s roughly the BMI of Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham.)

What does all this prove? According to the organisers of the study, published on plosone.com, it means short-term exposure to pictures of models affect our perceptions of attractiveness.

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On the other hand, it also suggests we’re pretty easily influenced in terms of what we find attractive- a finding that could surely be used to make us feel better about ourselves, not worse.

So. Bring on more diversity in the media, people. Maybe if we’re exposed to women of different ages, racial backgrounds and abilities, it’ll only take a minute for us to feel more beautiful.

Are you surprised by the results of this study?

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