A team of psychologists at the Universities of Brussels and Nebraska-Lincoln just did an interesting study on the objectification of women. The press release is here: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-05-people-sexy-pictures-women.html Of course, the comments are ridiculous, and having read the actual paper, also unfounded (it’s clear the commenters either don’t have subscriptions to Psychological Science, or haven’t bothered to read the actual article).
The idea is very simple. It’s well-known that we recognize persons through a “configurational process,” by combining many features into one, and we recognize objects through a different, “analytic process.” It’s also well-known that masking part of a face, inverting an image, etc., causes significant problems for the former process, but not at all for the latter. And sure enough, inverting images of near-nekkid men caused significant difficulties in recognition, but significanly less so for images of near-nekkid women. And this, sure enough, can’t be attributed to general difficulties in recognizing men & women (i.e. either in upright or inverted forms). But obvs people think they know more about analysis of variance than, like, actual psychologists, so they sure do love opining some stupid shit.