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Abstract

Objectification theory posits that as a result of pervasive sexual objectification of the female body in American culture, women are socialized to take an observers' perspective towards the self, resulting in self-objectification. This tendency, combined with an objectifying context, is hypothesized to increase cognitive load, thereby impairing performance. Two experiments tested this hypothesis by investigating the joint impact of trait and state objectification on cognitive load among women. Results of the first experiment showed longer response latencies on a Letter Number Sequencing task, specifically among women high in trait self-objectification (TSO), in a highly objectifying condition. The second experiment replicated results from the first while also exploring possible correlates of the effects. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.