Thin people are more likely to get away with murder, or at least white-collar crimes, according to a new study. A group of Yale psychologists asked a few hundred people to pretend they were jurors deciding whether four different (images of) people — one big guy, one thin guy, one large woman, one thin woman — were guilty of check fraud.
Female participants didn't stereotype based on weight. But men — especially lean men — sure did. According to Slate's Katy Waldman:
Not only did the male pretend jurors prove "significantly more likely" to find the obese female defendants-rather than the slim ones-guilty, but the trim male participants were worst of all, frequently labeling the fat women "repeat offenders" with "awareness" of their crimes. And because the effect disappeared when the photographs depicted a man, the hypothesis that subjects were simply layering class-based assumptions-such as "poor people are more often overweight" and "poor people commit more crime"-on top of one another falls a bit short. (On the other hand, as one of the researchers, Dr. Natasha Schvey, explained to me over the phone, fat women are more likely to be perceived as coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds than fat men. Somehow I don't find that consoling.)
We wonder what would've happened if the pseudo-accused were male?
Image via corgarashuShutterstock.