Body parts reduction and self-objectification in the objectification of sexualized bodies

Philippe Bernard, Sarah Gervais, Jill Allen, Sophie Campomizzi, Olivier Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A recent study showed that people rely on piecemeal, analytic processing when viewing sexualized female (vs. male) bodies, suggesting that people perceived sexualized female bodies similarly to objects. This paper will examine whether cognitive objectification of sexualized female bodies is associated with a focus on women's body parts rather than on their whole bodies. In order to test our assertion, we asked participants to view photographs of sexual body parts or entire bodies of males and females and make recognition judgments. We predicted an interaction between target sex and recognition task, with better recognition of sexualized female body parts when presented in isolation than in the context of whole female bodies whereas we expected the opposite pattern for sexualized male bodies recognition. As hypothesized, people recognized female body parts better than their whole bodies. Nonetheless, male whole bodies were not recognized better than male body parts. Furthermore, we hypothesized that self-objectification would be correlated with body-recognition and correlational analyses revealed that more selfobjectification was related to less whole body recognition and this tendency was more pronounced for female targets. By contrast, we did not find a positive link between selfobjectification and sexual body parts recognition. Implications for objectification theory and directions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-61
Number of pages23
JournalRevue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Analytic processing
  • Configural processing
  • Local and global
  • Self-objectification
  • Sexual objectification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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