Revealing Clothing Does Not Make the Object: ERP Evidences That Cognitive Objectification is Driven by Posture Suggestiveness, Not by Revealing Clothing

Philippe Bernard, Florence Hanoteau, Sarah Gervais, Lara Servais, Irene Bertolone, Paul Deltenre, Cécile Colin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent research found that sexualized bodies are visually processed similarly to objects. This article examines the effects of skin-to-clothing ratio and posture suggestiveness on cognitive objectification. Participants were presented images of upright versus inverted bodies while we recorded the N170. We used the N170 amplitude inversion effect (larger N170 amplitudes for inverted vs. upright stimuli) to assess cognitive objectification, with no N170 inversion effect indicating less configural processing and more cognitive objectification. Contrary to Hypothesis 1, skin-to-clothing ratio was not associated with cognitive objectification (Experiments 1-3). However, consistent with Hypothesis 2, we found that posture suggestiveness was the key driver of cognitive objectification (Experiment 2), even after controlling for body asymmetry (Experiment 3). This article showed that high (vs. low) posture suggestiveness caused cognitive objectification (regardless of body asymmetry), whereas high (vs. low) skin-to-clothing ratio did not. The implications for objectification and body perception literatures are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-36
Number of pages21
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • N170
  • body-inversion
  • configural and analytic processing
  • objectification
  • postures
  • revealing clothing
  • sexualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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