Internalizing objectification: Objectified individuals see themselves as less warm, competent, moral, and human

Br J Soc Psychol. 2017 Jun;56(2):217-232. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12188. Epub 2017 Feb 15.


People objectify others by viewing them as less warm, competent, moral, and human (Heflick & Goldenberg, 2009, J. Exp. Soc. Psychol., 45, 598; Vaes, Paladino, & Puvia, 2011, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 41, 774). In two studies, we examined whether the objectified share this view of themselves, internalizing their objectification. In Study 1 (N = 114), we examined sexual objectification, and in Study 2 (N = 62), we examined workplace objectification. Consistent across both studies, we found that objectification resulted in participants seeing themselves as less warm, competent, moral (Study 2 only), and lacking in human nature and human uniqueness. These effects were robust to perceiver gender and familiarity (Study 1), and whether another person or a situation caused the objectification (Study 2). In short, the objectified see themselves the manner they are seen by their objectifiers: as lacking warmth, competence, morality, and humanity.

Keywords: objectification; self-perception; sexual objectification; workplace objectification.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Dehumanization*
  • Female
  • Human Characteristics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morals*
  • Self Concept*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology