About Us: Bryan Nelson and Andre Nakkab are both seniors at New York University studying psychology. Ward Pettibone is also a senior at NYU studying neural science.
Abstract: The False Consensus Effect is an overestimate of the prevalence of one’s own behaviors and beliefs in a population. Previous research on the False Consensus Effect has shown that it is almost universal to the human condition, whether it involves underage drinking, video game use, etc. Whereas the false consensus effect has also been studied in a general risk behavior and risk-taking framework, there have been no studies on this effect with regard to steroid use and bodybuilding specifically. Here, we investigate the false consensus effect in a sample of 441 male bodybuilders that we recruited in online fitness fora. We divided participants based on whether they had ever used anabolic steroids as well as if they had taken fat burners. We asked them what percentage of frequent exercisers they believed used steroids, whether or not they supported the legalization of steroids in the United States, and what age they believed bodybuilders should first consider steroid use. Participants that had taken anabolic steroids reported higher estimates of steroid use prevalence, were more likely to support steroid legalization, and believed athletes should consider taking steroids at a younger age than nonusers. Similarly, fat burner users gave higher prevalence estimates of steroid use and were more likely to support steroid legalization compared to fat burner nonusers. We interpret these relationships as evidence that the false consensus effect exists in anabolic steroid users and that there is a halo-effect in the general bodybuilding community regarding steroid use.