Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Pinel, C. Elizabeth


Previous research on I-sharing ( i.e., shared subjective experiences) suggests that perceiving an overlap of the subjective self with another individual increases liking for that person (Pinel et al., 2006). Here I investigated the strength of I-sharing as it pertains to liking for and general attitudes toward heavyweight individuals. In the United States, the heavyweight are highly stigmatized and face prejudice and discrimination from multiple sources (Crandall, 1994; Puhl & Brownell, 2000; Puhl & Brownell, 2006). Previously, Crimin and Pine1 (2008) demonstrated that I-sharing increased liking for a heavyweight partner. The current study sought to replicate and extend previous research by examining the role of stereotype relevant objective characteristics in I-sharing experiences with a heavyweight partner. Further, this study examined I-sharing's power to reduce prejudice toward heavyweight individuals as a group. Participants played a game of "Imaginiff' with a computer-generated confederate who self-identified as heavyweight. The game required participants to make in-the-moment judgments. Immediately upon making each judgment, participants were shown their interaction partners' responses. Making the same judgment as another person in this game amounts to I-sharing because it calls for gut-lcvcl, spontaneous reactions that tap into the subjective self. Participants' experiences with their partner varied such that some I-shared with their interaction partner, others received non I-sharing feedback from their partner, and some received no feedback. Further, thc stereotype relevant objective characteristics of the partner varied, such that some participants interacted with a stereotype confirming partner and some interacted with a stereotype disconfirming partner. Following the interaction, participants rated their liking for their partner and reported their attitudes towards heavyweight people in general. Results indicated that participants who I-shared with their partner liked her more than thosc who did not I-share with their partner. Further, participants who I-shared with their partner reported higher feelings of positivity toward heavyweight individuals as a group on a feeling thennometer. Findings suggest that stereotype objective characteristics do not play a critical role in the I-sharing process. Implications for the reduction of prejudice toward heavyweight pcoplc are discussed.