While cutting-edge research has shown how – from a neural and cognitive point of view – human beings are perceived and elaborated differently from objects, in social psychology different studies demonstrated that this human-object divide fades in several circumstances. Research in social psychology is continuing to advance the knowledge on dehumanization and objectification phenomenon in which human beings are perceived and elaborated more similar to an object and less like a human being. Recently, this has been demonstrated quite literally directly comparing human stimuli with a mind and perceptually similar mindless objects (Vaes et al., 2019, 2020). Such direct comparisons allow us to demonstrate how the well-documented human-object divide tends to fade during dehumanization and objectification phenomena. Presenting five research studies, this thesis aims not only at proving how de-mentalized human stimuli are cognitively perceived as object-like (Chapter 2 and 3), but also at showing how these phenomena are influencing more subtle, un-controlled behaviour processes that impact human social interactions (Chapter 4). Specifically, in Chapter 2, two similar EEG studies aimed at exploring the timeline of the mentalization process by adapting a paradigm in which the human-object divide is investigated. By manipulating both perceptual and contextual information, ingroup and outgroup human faces together with their identity-matched doll-like avatar faces were presented while registering participants’ neural correlates. Thanks to the direct comparison between mindless and mindful targets our goal was to unravel the time course of mentalization and its underlying processes. By adapting the same paradigm, in Chapter 3 we explored the process of sexual objectification and presented sexually objectified men and women with their gender-matched doll-like avatars. Our primary goal was to investigate how objectified men and women are perceptually and cognitive perceived by looking at a sample of gay men. By directly comparing mindless and mindful targets we wanted to understand whether sexual objectification might be target (i.e., always mainly directed towards women regardless of the perceivers sexual orientation) or agent specific (i.e., directed towards different targets depending on the perceivers sexual orientation). Moreover, we also wanted to explore what might drive heterosexual men and women and gay men to objectify others. Finally, the purpose of Chapter 4 was to investigate an implicit and unconscious consequence of sexual objectification. By presenting objectified and non-objectified women expressing happiness and anger we measured participants’ spontaneous mimicry responses. Our goal was to determine whether sexual objectification – a phenomenon in which women are considered as object-like – might influence such an uncontrolled and implicit human behaviour that affects normal social interactions.

(De-)mentalization and objectification processes towards minority groups: When the human-object divide fades / Ruzzante, Daniela. - (2022 Jan 27), pp. 1-173. [10.15168/11572_328504]

(De-)mentalization and objectification processes towards minority groups: When the human-object divide fades.

Ruzzante, Daniela
2022-01-27

Abstract

While cutting-edge research has shown how – from a neural and cognitive point of view – human beings are perceived and elaborated differently from objects, in social psychology different studies demonstrated that this human-object divide fades in several circumstances. Research in social psychology is continuing to advance the knowledge on dehumanization and objectification phenomenon in which human beings are perceived and elaborated more similar to an object and less like a human being. Recently, this has been demonstrated quite literally directly comparing human stimuli with a mind and perceptually similar mindless objects (Vaes et al., 2019, 2020). Such direct comparisons allow us to demonstrate how the well-documented human-object divide tends to fade during dehumanization and objectification phenomena. Presenting five research studies, this thesis aims not only at proving how de-mentalized human stimuli are cognitively perceived as object-like (Chapter 2 and 3), but also at showing how these phenomena are influencing more subtle, un-controlled behaviour processes that impact human social interactions (Chapter 4). Specifically, in Chapter 2, two similar EEG studies aimed at exploring the timeline of the mentalization process by adapting a paradigm in which the human-object divide is investigated. By manipulating both perceptual and contextual information, ingroup and outgroup human faces together with their identity-matched doll-like avatar faces were presented while registering participants’ neural correlates. Thanks to the direct comparison between mindless and mindful targets our goal was to unravel the time course of mentalization and its underlying processes. By adapting the same paradigm, in Chapter 3 we explored the process of sexual objectification and presented sexually objectified men and women with their gender-matched doll-like avatars. Our primary goal was to investigate how objectified men and women are perceptually and cognitive perceived by looking at a sample of gay men. By directly comparing mindless and mindful targets we wanted to understand whether sexual objectification might be target (i.e., always mainly directed towards women regardless of the perceivers sexual orientation) or agent specific (i.e., directed towards different targets depending on the perceivers sexual orientation). Moreover, we also wanted to explore what might drive heterosexual men and women and gay men to objectify others. Finally, the purpose of Chapter 4 was to investigate an implicit and unconscious consequence of sexual objectification. By presenting objectified and non-objectified women expressing happiness and anger we measured participants’ spontaneous mimicry responses. Our goal was to determine whether sexual objectification – a phenomenon in which women are considered as object-like – might influence such an uncontrolled and implicit human behaviour that affects normal social interactions.
XXXIV
2020-2021
Psicologia e scienze cognitive (29/10/12-)
Cognitive Science
Vaes, Jeroen Andre Filip
no
Inglese
Settore M-PSI/05 - Psicologia Sociale
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