LINCOLN, Neb., July 29 (UPI) -- Both genders process images of men and women differently -- men are seen as people, women as body parts, U.S. researchers suggest.
Lead author Sarah Gervais, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said in the study, participants were randomly presented with dozens of images of fully clothed, average-looking men and women. Each person was shown from head to knee, standing, with eyes focused on the camera.
After a brief pause, participants then saw two new images on their screen: One was unmodified and contained the original image, while the other was a slightly modified version of the original image that comprised a sexual body part. Participants then quickly indicated which of the two images they had previously seen.
The study, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found women's sexual body parts were more easily recognized when presented in isolation than when they were presented in the context of their entire bodies. However, men's sexual body parts were recognized better when presented in the context of their entire bodies than they were in isolation, the study said.
"We always hear that women are reduced to their sexual body parts; you hear about examples in the media all the time," Gervais said in a statement. "This research takes it a step further and finds that this perception spills over to everyday women, too."