Cognitive Processing

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 419–429 | Cite as

Now you see me, now you don’t: detecting sexual objectification through a change blindness paradigm

  • Luca AndrighettoEmail author
  • Fabrizio Bracco
  • Carlo Chiorri
  • Michele Masini
  • Marcello Passarelli
  • Tommaso Francesco Piccinno
Research Article


The goal of this work is to provide evidence for the cognitive objectification of sexualized targets via a change blindness paradigm. Since sexual objectification involves a fragmented perception of the target in which individuating features (i.e., the face) have less information potential than sexualized features (i.e., body parts), we hypothesized that changes in faces of sexualized targets would be detected with less accuracy than changes in faces of nonsexualized targets. Conversely, we expected that changes in body parts would be detected with higher accuracy for sexualized than nonsexualized targets. These hypotheses were supported by the results of two studies that employed a change blindness task in which stimuli with changes both to faces and bodies of sexualized and nonsexualized images were presented. Unexpectedly, the hypothesized effects emerged both for female and male targets.


Sexual objectification Change blindness Objectifying gaze Information potential 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

Ethical standard

All procedures performed in studies were in accordance with the ethical standards of the local Ethical Research Committee, with the APA ethical guidelines and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Full informed consent was obtained before participants started the studies.

Supplementary material

10339_2019_927_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 kb)
10339_2019_927_MOESM2_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 16 kb)


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Science (DISFOR)University of GenovaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Educational TechnologiesNational Research CouncilGenoaItaly

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