Eye of the beholder: Effects of perspective and sexual objectification on harassment judgments

Richard L. Wiener, Sarah J. Gervais, Jill Allen, Allissa Marquez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Social Analytic Jurisprudence instructs researchers to study the reciprocal relations between law and peoples' lives by developing empirical descriptions of legal assumptions about human behavior. The present work introduced a new experimental paradigm to test some of those assumptions by studying the impact of sexual objectification in a simulated job interview on performance, sexual harassment judgments, and emotions for women who experienced (akin to complainants), observed (akin to coworkers or witnesses), or predicted (akin to investigators, EEOC officers, mediators, jurors, or judges,) the impact of sexual objectification. Consistent with hypotheses, sexual objectification resulted in worse performance predictions, more sexual harassment, and more negative emotion compared with the control condition, but these effects were moderated by perspective. Overall, predictors estimated worse performance, more sexual harassment, and more negative emotion in response to sexual objectification than observers and experiencers. Anticipated negative emotion and self-referencing explained the effects for predictors. Theoretical and practical implications for legal and psychological theory on sexual harassment, objectification, and affective forecasting are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-221
Number of pages16
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Discrimination
  • Emotion
  • Hostile work environment
  • Objectification
  • Sexual harassment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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