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An Experiencer, An Animal or An Object?

New publication by dr Marchlewska and colleagues.

Article title: An Experiencer, An Animal or An Object? Erection Salience Decreases Men’s Perceived Agency


Three experiments investigated the influence of penile erection on ascriptions of mental capabilities to men. Drawing on sexual objectification literature and the distinction between agency and experience in mind perception, three competing predictions were formulated. The mind redistribution hypothesis assumed that penile erection would lower agency and heighten experience attributions, the animalistic dehumanization hypothesis predicted the decrease in agency, but not experience, and the literal objectification hypothesis implied the simultaneous decrease in both agency and experience. In Experiment 1 (N = 219; 128 females), erection salience lowered agency, but not experience capabilities ascribed to male targets. Experiment 2 (N = 201, 113 females) replicated the negative effect of erection salience on perceived agency (but not experience) and revealed that erection salience lowered intentions to hire a male target. This effect was explained with the loss of perceived agency. Experiment 3 (N = 203, 98 females) verified the causal relationship between penile erection, agency and hiring intentions. Taken together, these results supported the animalistic dehumanization hypothesis.