Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology

First Advisor

Timothy D. Sweeny, Ph.D.


Anti-fat bias, Continuous flash suppression, Interocular suppression, Spatial attention, Visual awareness, Weight bias


Explicitly-rated anti-fat attitudes are correlated with weight-based discrimination, which is rampant in society today as many countries grapple with soaring rates of obesity. Early perceptual processes, such as conscious awareness and visual attention, may be biased based on the weight of the perceived or the perceiver, or any number of individual perceiver characteristics regarding weight-biased attitudes and experiences. The three experiments presented used continuous-flash suppression (CFS) to mask body stimuli, thereby hoping to gain insight into attentional capture of unseen images and its relation to anti-fat attitudes. The pattern of findings in the three experiments presented suggest that what makes a stimulus likely to capture spatial attention may be distinct from the characteristics that afford it conscious perceptual processing initially. Stimulus-level features interacted with participant characteristics to bias the effectiveness of CFS. All three studies demonstrated significant differences in stimulus breakthrough based on stimulus weight, where larger images broke through to conscious awareness more readily than smaller images. Study 2 controlled for size by including inverted bodies as primes. Analyses suggest that heavy bodies are more susceptible to suppression than their overall size would predict. This effect interacted with gender and BMI; overweight participants and female participants displayed the significant effect of stimulus weight on breakthrough rate. In contrast, findings regarding the relationship between explicit anti-fat bias and attentional capture were inconsistent across studies.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Larissa Catherine Miller


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

80 p.


Experimental psychology