The Effects of 3D Body Representations and Somatomorphic Images on Self-Esteem

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LaFever, Hayden Alexander
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Middle Tennessee State University
There is new technology that is capable of creating 3D body representations of people that has not been examined in psychological research, especially in relation to body esteem. Does viewing a representation of your current body type and analyzing how far you are from your body ideal impact body esteem? Is viewing a 3D representation of one’s body more impactful to body esteem than a 2D representation of one’s body? Do males and females differ in their reactions to seeing themselves represented with a 3D image? Participants (N = 63) were college students from classes at Middle Tennessee State University. Participants were in two different body target groups, the somatomorphic group and the body scan group. Participants in both conditions completed a pre-test assessing one’s body esteem. After completing the pre-test, all participants then got body scanned by the KX-16 body scanner. Participants then completed the post-test measure of body esteem after viewing a somatomorphic image or a copy of one’s body scan image. The somatomorphic group did not view a copy of one’s body scan image. The findings of this study are that participants body esteem drops after being presented with a body scan image or somatomorphic matrix. Also, being presented with a body scan image impacts body esteem more negatively than being presented with a somatomorphic matrix. Namely, the body scan image negatively affects overall body esteem and appearance body esteem. The major implication of this study is that using a 3D body scanner could have negative effects on one’s self esteem and should be cautioned for anyone who could suffer from detrimental effects of low self-esteem. Also, this research guides the way to further 3D body scanning psychological research.
3D body scanning, Body esteem, Body ideal, Body image, Body scanner, Somatomorphic matrix