Psychology professors at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted experiments to find out our implicit association, or prejudice that lies beneath the level of conscious awareness towards overweight individuals. Study participants who were tricked into thinking they should smell something reported they smelled less pleasant odors when they viewed pictures of overweight and obese people than when they gazed at trim individuals.
The study findings suggested that the extent of negative bias toward overweight individuals might be greater than previously assumed. The study authors said, "Neuroscientists have found that what people see and what they smell, when presented together, often get tied closely together in the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a key role in learning and memory."
Incollingo Rodriguez, the study's lead author, said, "While some people are overtly biased, others might not even be aware that they harbor negative feelings toward heavy people. But many believe the first step toward addressing unconscious prejudice is to unmask it- to make the implicit explicit."
The study appears in the International Journal of Obesity.