Of Animals and Objects: Men's Implicit Dehumanization of Women and Likelihood of Sexual Aggression

Laurie A. Rudman, Kris Mescher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although dehumanizing women and male sexual aggression are theoretically aligned, the present research provides the first direct support for this assumption, using the Implicit Association Test to assess two forms of female dehumanization: animalization and objectification. In Study 1, men who automatically associated women more than men with primitive constructs (e.g., animals, instinct, nature) were more willing to rape and sexually harass women, and to report negative attitudes toward female rape victims. In Study 2, men who automatically associated women with animals (e.g., animals, paw, snout) more than with humans scored higher on a rape-behavioral analogue, as well as rape proclivity. Automatically objectifying women by associating them with objects, tools, and things was also positively correlated with men's rape proclivity. In concert, the research demonstrates that men who implicitly dehumanize women (as either animals or objects) are also likely to sexually victimize them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)734-746
Number of pages13
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume38
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

Keywords

  • Implicit Association Test
  • dehumanization
  • sex discrimination
  • sexual aggression

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