Date of Award

Spring 5-2000

Document Type


Degree Name

Honors College Theses



First Advisor

Dr. Joyce O'Rourke

Second Advisor

Dr. Beverly Wade


Objectification Theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) posits that because American culture objectifies women's bodies (e.g., through visual mass media), girls and women are socialized to self-objectify. Self-Objectification is manifest by internalization of the observer's perspective. According to objectification theory, self-objectification has a variety of emotional and cognitive consequences, including increased shame and anxiety and diminished cognitive resources which can lead to diminished cognitive performance. A prior experiment demonstrated that states of self-objectification diminished performance on a stroop color-naming task supporting the prediction about cognitive performance. The current research was conducted to test whether mental suppression of self-objectifying thoughts accounted for this diminished performance. Participants in the current study were instructed to either suppress thoughts and feelings related to these questionnaires or not. All participants then completed the Stroop color-naming task. A survey study was also conducted to compare self-objectification and ethnic identity differences between African American and Caucasian American women. Results were expected to yield that African American woman, who are thought to relate more closely to ethnic identity, are less likely to exhibit characteristics associated with self-objectification. One possible reason for such a difference could be that the coping strategy women of color develop to deal with racism may also buffer against the negative psychological repercussions of sexual objectification.

Included in

Psychology Commons