Is body inversion effect a valid measure of women's objectification? Yes, it is!

Philippe Bernard, Margaux De Laet, Sarah J. Gervais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectification occurs when a person is perceived akin to an object. Recent research has defined objectification as a process through which a person is reduced to her constituent features (e.g., body parts) in a way that resembles how objects are processed. The inversion effect (better recognition for upright stimuli than for inverted ones) has often been used as a cognitive measure of objectification, with the inversion effect typically emerging for human stimuli, but not for objects. This paper aimed to evaluate the construct validity of the body inversion effect as a measure of objectification by examining whether the body inversion effect correlates with personality and individual differences conceptually related to objectification. To test our hypotheses, 318 participants (162 men, 156 women) completed a new online version of the behavioral body inversion paradigm (B-BIP), followed by a questionnaire measuring objectification-related variables (objectifying behaviors, self-control, sexism, and dark triad traits). Seeing women as objects (lower body inversion effects) was associated with more objectifying behaviors, lower self-control, higher levels of sexism, and more dark triad traits among men and women, which provides preliminary evidence that the body inversion effect is a valid measure of women's objectification. We discussed the implications and limitations of these findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110708
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Body gaze
  • Body perception
  • Dark triad
  • Dehumanization
  • Inversion effect
  • Objectification
  • Self-control
  • Sexism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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