The effect of objectification on aggression

Kai Tak POON, Zhansheng CHEN, Fei TENG, Wing-Yan WONG

Research output: Other contributionOther contributions

Abstract

Objectification refers to being treated as an object that can be instrumentally manipulated. Although the literature has accumulated substantial understanding about the impacts of objectification, our knowledge is still limited because past studies exclusively focused on sexual objectification (i.e., treating women as objects that satisfy men’s sexual desires). Relatively little research has examined how non-sexual forms of objectification influence people’s psychosocial well-being. The current research aimed to examine the relation between non-sexual objectification and aggression and the corresponding psychological mechanism. Adopting a multi-method approach, three studies were conducted to test the prediction that non-sexual objectification promotes aggression through thwarted perceived control. In Study 1, participants completed measures assessing their dispositional feelings of non-sexual objectification, perceived control, and aggression. In Study 2, participants were first either objectified or not during a social interaction and then their perceived control was examined. Finally, participants’ aggression was assessed by the voodoo doll paradigm. In Study 3, participants first recalled either an objectification or control experience. Next, they reported their perceived control and aggressive intention in hypothetical situations. The results of the three studies consistently showed that objectified participants reported lower perceived control and higher aggression level than non-objectified participants. In addition, perceived control mediated the relation between non-sexual objectification and aggression. Taken together, these findings advance our current knowledge by providing the first empirical evidence showing that people become more aggressive following non-sexual objectification and highlighting the critical influence of perceived control in explaining why non-sexual objectification promotes aggression. Copyright © 2018 ISRA World Meeting.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Citation

Poon, K.-T., Chen, Z., Teng, F., & Wong, W.-Y. (2018, July). School children: An active role in disease prevention. Poster presented at the XXIIIrd Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA), Paris Descartes University, Paris, France.

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