Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Psychological Science 23 (2012), pp. 469–471; doi: 10.1177/0956797611434748


Copyright © 2012 Philippe Bernard, Sarah J. Gervais, Jill Allen, Sophie Campomizzi, and Olivier Klein. Published by Sage Publications — — on behalf of Association for Psychological Science. Used by permission.


In the study reported here, we tested the novel sexualized-body-inversion hypothesis. Integrating research and theory on objectification and person versus object recognition, we examined whether sexualized women, but not sexualized men, are recognized in the same way as objects are. According to objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), female bodies are scrutinized and evaluated to a greater degree than male bodies are, which leads to sexual objectification of women. Defined as viewing or treating an individual as a sexualized body, or as sexualized body parts, available for satisfying the needs and desires of other people (Bartky, 1990), sexual objectification has been recently operationalized by portraying the target wearing underwear or a swimsuit.

We tested the sexualized-body-inversion hypothesis in the present study: If sexualized women are viewed as objects and sexualized men are viewed as persons, then sexualized female bodies will be recognized equally well when inverted as when upright (object-like recognition), whereas sexualized male bodies will be recognized better when upright than when inverted (person-like recognition).

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