Sex Roles

, Volume 48, Issue 9–10, pp 377–388 | Cite as

Body Objectification and “Fat Talk”: Effects on Emotion, Motivation, and Cognitive Performance

  • Kathrine D. Gapinski
  • Kelly D. Brownell
  • Marianne LaFrance


To evaluate the effects of self-objectification on mood, motivation, and cognitive performance, 80 women either tried on a swimsuit (high objectification) or a sweater (low objectification). In addition, in order to investigate whether “fat talk” exacerbates the negative effects of self-objectification, half of each group overheard a confederate make self-disparaging body comments or neutral comments. Self-objectification, either as an individual difference disposition (trait) or as a situationally induced state, was associated with increased negative feelings, decreased intrinsic motivation, lower self-efficacy, and diminished cognitive functioning. The “fat talk” prime had mixed effects; potential reasons are discussed in detail. Exposure to fat talk was associated with an increase in negative emotion for women in sweaters, but a decrease in negative emotion for women in swimsuits. Fat talk was also associated with improved motivation and cognitive functioning for women low in trait self-objectification but diminished motivation and performance for women high in trait self-objectification.

self-objectification fat talk objectification theory body image cognitive functioning 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathrine D. Gapinski
    • 1
  • Kelly D. Brownell
    • 1
  • Marianne LaFrance
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale UniversityNew Haven

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