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Television and Beauty Ideals in Rural Nicaragua

This research project brought together Psychologists and Anthropologists to study the impacts of television on beauty ideals in
rural Nicaragua.
Project Leader: Prof Lynda Boothroyd, Durham University
Co-Investigator: Prof Martin Tovee, University of Lincoln
Steering committee: Prof Robert BartonDr Mike BurtDr Liz EvansDr Mark Jamieson

Research associate: Dr Jean-Luc Jucker
Doctoral researcher: Dr Tracey Thornborrow

Funding: This research is funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (RPG-2013-113).
Pilot data were collected with funding from the Centre for Coevolution of Biology and Culture
JLJ was a visiting researcher at Universidad de las Regiones Autonomas de la Costa Caribe Nicaraguense.

All images copyright Jean-Luc Jucker

Project background

The Pearl Lagoon Basin is an area of Nicaragua which during our research was in the process of receiving mains electricity for the first time.  Those living in the remote villages of the Lagoon had no access to the internet at the time, nor magazines, and could only access visual media through television.  As such, this represented a remarkable research opportunity for assessing the impact of visual media on perceptions of beauty, particularly the extent to which residents of the region adopt a preference for slim female figures. This issue is of key importance as preference for slim female figures have been implicated as a factor in disordered eating and body dissatisfaction seen in many Westernised cultures.

Research outcomes