The Neural Correlates of Cognitive Objectification: An ERP Study on the Body Inversion Effect Associated With Sexualized Bodies

Philippe Bernard, Tiziana Rizzo, Ingrid Hoonhorst, Gaétane Deliens, Sarah J. Gervais, Julia Eberlen, Clémence Bayard, Paul Deltenre, Cécile Colin, Olivier Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

At an early stage of visual processing, human faces and bodies are typically associated with larger N170s when presented in an inverted (vs. upright) position, indexing the involvement of configural processing. We challenged this view and hypothesized that sexualized bodies would not be sensitive to inversion, thereby suggesting that they would be processed similarly to objects. Participants saw sexualized male and female bodies, nonsexualized male and female bodies, as well as objects in both upright and inverted positions while we recorded the N170. Results indicated that inverted (vs. upright) nonsexualized male and female bodies were associated with larger N170 amplitudes. In contrast, no N170 amplitude inversion effect emerged for sexualized male and female bodies or objects. These results suggest that sexualized bodies are processed similarly to objects and quite differently than nonsexualized bodies. We discuss the results and their implications in the light of the literatures in person perception and objectification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-559
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume9
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

Keywords

  • N170
  • body inversion
  • cognitive neuroscience
  • configural and analytic processing
  • dehumanization
  • objectification
  • psychophysiology
  • sexualization
  • social neuroscience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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