Submission Title

An Experimental Study of the Priming Effects of Objectified Words

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Subject Area

Psychology

Description

Objectification, a tendency to adopt an externalized view of self (self-objectification) or others, has primarily been studied with regard to exposure to media images and experiences. Limited research found that mere words can also prime objectifying states. However, in a recent study, we were unable to replicate this result, finding no effects of word priming on behavior (i.e, objectifying gaze). The current experiment used a larger sample and modified design to examine whether objectifying words have subtle effects that may diminish with time or exposure to images of women.

Males and females (n=376) were primed with one of three versions of the Scrambled Sentence Task (SST) which included either objectifying words, body competence words, or neutral words among four filler words. Participants were tasked with creating grammatically correct four-word sentences. Next, they were randomly assigned to view either images of women, nature, or a page loading GIF for 3 minutes. Participants then completed a modified Twenty Statements Test (TST) to measure state self-objectification (SSO) and other measures of objectification of self and others (e.g., literal objectification, body surveillance/shame). Results indicated that if words do prime, it is subtle and fleeting. Possible reasons for failure to replicate are discussed.

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An Experimental Study of the Priming Effects of Objectified Words

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Grand Avenue

Objectification, a tendency to adopt an externalized view of self (self-objectification) or others, has primarily been studied with regard to exposure to media images and experiences. Limited research found that mere words can also prime objectifying states. However, in a recent study, we were unable to replicate this result, finding no effects of word priming on behavior (i.e, objectifying gaze). The current experiment used a larger sample and modified design to examine whether objectifying words have subtle effects that may diminish with time or exposure to images of women.

Males and females (n=376) were primed with one of three versions of the Scrambled Sentence Task (SST) which included either objectifying words, body competence words, or neutral words among four filler words. Participants were tasked with creating grammatically correct four-word sentences. Next, they were randomly assigned to view either images of women, nature, or a page loading GIF for 3 minutes. Participants then completed a modified Twenty Statements Test (TST) to measure state self-objectification (SSO) and other measures of objectification of self and others (e.g., literal objectification, body surveillance/shame). Results indicated that if words do prime, it is subtle and fleeting. Possible reasons for failure to replicate are discussed.