The Mystery of Objects

You know…you would think a vacation would afford lots of writing time. But I have found little time for that.

I saw this…and I feel like I am missing something:

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Philippe Bernard presented participants pictures of men and women in sexualized poses, wearing a swimsuit or underwear, one by one on a computer screen. Since pictures of people present a recognition problem when they’re turned upside down, but images of objects don’t have that problem, some of the photos were presented right side up and others upside down. After each picture, there was a second of black screen before each participant was shown two images and was asked to choose the one that matched the one he or she had just seen.

RESULTS: The male and female subjects matched the photos similarly. They recognized right-side-up men better than upside-down men, suggesting that they saw the sexualized men as persons. On the contrary, the women in underwear weren’t any harder to recognize when they appeared upside down, indicating that the sexy women were consistently identified as objects.

CONCLUSION: People objectify women in sexualized photos, but not men.

I am not questioning the existence of objectification, mind you…but I do find myself scratching my head a little. If I cannot recognize you when a picture of you was shown to me-and then shown again, but upside down? You should probably assume you made no impression on me. I cannot even remember what you looked like in the same picture from seconds ago?

And I am curious what is meant by “objects”… Because a square is a square…if you find it tough to differentiate that when turned upside down…there are some cognitive issues. I wonder how complex we are talking about for objects. It is the assumption that being able to recognize a person in different states (in this case, right side up and upside down) is actually a negative. I understand the claim about objects… I am just wondering if it translates as cleanly as implied here.

Again, not challenging the reality of objectification here. Simply certain assumptions within this test.

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