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She Looks like She’d Be an Animal in Bed: Dehumanization of Drinking Women in Social Contexts


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The purpose of the present research was to examine the perceptions of women who drink in social contexts through the lens of dehumanization (Haslam 2006). Across three experiments, we manipulated the presence of alcohol by depicting a woman at a bar with a bottle of beer or a bottle of water and measured dehumanization. As hypothesized, women were dehumanized more in the alcohol condition than in the water condition by men (Experiments 1–3) and women (Experiments 2 and 3). Notably, the presence of alcohol compared to water had no impact on dehumanization of men (Experiment 2). Also, as hypothesized, perceived intoxication emerged as a significant mediator of the link between alcohol condition and dehumanization in Experiments 1 and 2, and alcohol quantity predicted greater dehumanization in Experiment 3. Extending the present work to prior work in this area, Experiment 3 also examined the links among alcohol, perceived sexual availability, and dehumanization, revealing that perceived sexual availability mediated the link between alcohol and dehumanization. Implications for theories of dehumanization, alcohol, and social perception as well as practical implications of these findings are discussed.
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She Looks like Shed Be an Animal in Bed: Dehumanization of Drinking
Women in Social Contexts
Abigail R. Riemer
&Sarah J. Gervais
&Jeanine L. M. Skorinko
&Sonya Maria Douglas
&Heather Spencer
Katherine Nugai
&Anastasia Karapanagou
&Andreas Miles-Novelo
#Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018
The purpose of the present research was to examine the perceptions of women who drink in social contexts through the lens of
dehumanization (Haslam 2006). Acrossthree experiments, we manipulated the presence ofalcohol by depicting a woman at a bar
with a bottle of beer or a bottle of water and measured dehumanization. As hypothesized, women were dehumanized more in the
alcohol condition than in the water condition by men (Experiments 13) and women (Experiments 2 and 3). Notably, the
presence of alcohol compared to water had no impact on dehumanization of men (Experiment 2). Also, as hypothesized,
perceived intoxication emerged as a significant mediator of the link between alcohol condition and dehumanization in
Experiments 1 and 2, and alcohol quantity predicted greater dehumanization in Experiment 3. Extending the present work to
prior work in this area, Experiment 3 also examined the links among alcohol, perceived sexual availability, and dehumanization,
revealing that perceived sexual availability mediated the link between alcohol and dehumanization. Implications for theories of
dehumanization, alcohol, and social perception as well as practical implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords Alcohol .Intoxication .Dehumanization .Sex .Gender
Imagine it is a Friday night and you are at a bar waiting for
your friends to arrive. Across the bar, you see a young woman
holding a bottle of beer. Meanwhile at the table next to yours,
you overhear one man point this woman out to his friend and
make a comment that he thinks she would be a Breal animal in
the bedroom.^Although it might seem that comments like
these are innocuous, and may even invoke a chuckle from
the mans friend, a large literature suggests that the effects of
alcohol on social perception are no laughing matter. In line
with this suggestion, the presence of alcohol causes negative
social perceptions and adverse treatment of drinking individ-
uals compared to their sober counterparts. Importantly, people
express more disapproval toward intoxicated women relative
to men, presumably because heavy drinking confirms gender
stereotypes about men regarding appropriately masculine be-
havior (Capraro 2000), whereas similar drinking behavior vi-
olates genderstereotypes about women regarding appropriate-
ly feminine behaviors (Gomberg 1993;Landrineetal.1988;
Ricciardelli et al. 2001).
Beyond perceptions, alcohol use also significantly in-
creases risk for sexual victimization for women to a greater
extent than for men (Abbey 2011). A vast literature examining
the effect ofalcohol use on sexual violencehas identified links
between womens alcohol use and mensmisperceptionsof
sexual interest (Abbey et al. 2000; Beckman and Ackerman
1995), sexual availability (Abbey and Harnish 1995;
Corcoran and Thomas 1991), and sexual responsiveness
(George et al. 1995). One potential reason for increased sexual
victimization in drinking women is that people perceive drink-
ing women as less sexually inhibited and, as a result, less
human. The purpose of the present research was to extend
and elaborate this prior research by examining whether the
presence of alcohol fundamentally changes social perceptions
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article
( contains supplementary
material, which is available to authorized users.
*Abigail R. Riemer
Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska, 238 Burnett
Department of Social Science & Policy Studies, Worcester
Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Rd., Worcester, MA, USA
Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, W112
Lagomarcino Hall, Ames, IA, USA
Sex Roles
of young White women by causing people to see them as less
human. Although our focus was primarily on White women,
we also included a study examining the impact of alcohol
presence on dehumanization of White men to disentangle
the role of alcohol and gender. Toward that end, we integrate
research on alcohol, gender, and social perception with
Haslams(2006) conceptualization of dehumanization to de-
rive testable hypotheses.
Sexual Perceptions of Drinking Women
Three decades of research supports the ideas that drinking
women in social settings are perceived more sexually than
their counterparts who abstain from alcohol (Garcia and
Kushnier 1987;Georgeetal.1995,1997) and that men tend
to show this bias toward drinking women to a greater degree
than do women (Crowe and George 1989;Georgeetal.1988).
Relative to women, for example, men tend to perceive more
sexual intent and sexual availability in drinking than non-
drinking women (Abbey et al. 1996; Lindgren et al. 2008;
for review; Parks and Scheidt 2000).
Researchers have suggested that stereotypespromoted
through media and other sourcescreate expectancies that
alcohol use and promiscuity in women often go hand-in-
hand (Blume 1991; Woodruff 1996). Parks and Scheidt
(2000), for example, found that male participants formed
impressions of women as being more sexually promiscu-
ous when wearing provocative clothing and consuming
greater amounts of alcohol. Consistent with the idea that
stereotypes about women, rather than womens actual be-
haviors, cause these perceptions, Koukounas et al. (2015)
found that the mere presence of alcohol caused men to rate
women in male-female dyads as higher in sexual intent.
People who endorse sex-related alcohol expectancies
(e.g., the idea that alcohol increases sexual feelings) are
particularly likely to demonstrate links between alcohol
and sexuality. To illustrate, Friedman et al. (2005)primed
men with alcohol or control words and the men then rated
photographs of women on attractiveness and intelligence.
For men who believed that alcohol enhances sexual desires
(vs. those who did not), attractiveness ratings of the wom-
an increased when they were primed with alcohol (vs. con-
trol) words, whereas ratings of intelligence were unaffect-
ed. Although it seems that stereotypes and related expec-
tancies regarding alcohol, sexuality, and gender increase
the likelihood that women will be perceived in ways that
can promote more focus on their sexual attributes, we offer
a complementary suggestion that alcohol may influence
negative perceptions of drinking women in terms of their
perceived humanity by influencing perceptions of sexual
The process through which we deny others full humanness
has long been a topic of interest for psychological researchers
(Bandura 1990; Bar-Tal 1990;Kelman1973;Opotow1990).
Several scholars have focused on critical antecedents of dehu-
manizationincluding conflict (Struch and Schwarz 1989), dis-
connection (Opotow 1990), instrumentalization (Kelman
1973), and threat (Bar-Tal 1990). Likewise, other researchers
have focused on the troubling consequences of dehumaniza-
tion. Bandura et al. (1975), for example, linked dehumaniza-
tion to aggression, suggesting that dehumanization allows
people to avoid self-censure for harming others; victims are
regarded as sub-human, undeserving of the dignifying quali-
ties that are typically ascribed to human beings. More recently,
dehumanization has been linked to greater punishment and
less rehabilitative efforts for criminals (Bastian et al. 2013a;
Viki et al. 2012), more willingness to engage in torture (Viki
et al. 2013), less sensitivity and concern for victims of police
brutality (Goff et al. 2008), and increased tolerance of sexual
assault (Loughnan et al. 2013).
Haslams(2006) conceptualization of dehumanization rep-
resents a major advance in our understanding of who is seen as
less or not completely human as well as the social cognitive
processes underlying this phenomenon. Informed by classic
research in the area of dehumanization, Haslam (2006; see
also Leyens et al., 2003) proposed that dehumanization not
only occurs in extreme forms restricted to intergroup conflict
and blatant negativity (Bandura 1999; Leyens et al. 2003;
Kelman 1976;Opotow1990), but also emerges in everyday
social interactions when people deny others human attributes.
Haslam has suggested thatpeople are dehumanized when they
are denied human uniqueness (i.e., likened to animals) and
human nature (i.e., liked to machines, see also Bain et al.
2009;Haslametal.2005,2008; Loughnan and Haslam
2007; see Haslam et al. 2013 for review). Whereas animalistic
and mechanistic dehumanization sometimes have distinct pre-
dictors and outcomes, they often go hand-in-hand, and full
humanity is denied to any target perceived to be lacking hu-
man nature and/or human uniqueness attributes (Haslam et al.
2013). Because ours was the first known study to examine the
role between womens alcohol intoxication, we examined de-
humanization as a general construct.
Dehumanizing Drinking Women
Integrating dehumanization theory (Haslam 2006) with re-
search on gender and alcohol consumption, our central hy-
pothesis is that drinking women will be dehumanized to a
greater degree than non-drinking women. Although this link-
age has not been explicitly tested, research is consistent with
this notion. Generally speaking, research shows that people
Sex Roles
who abuse substances (e.g., drug addicts) are dehumanized
compared to non-abusers (Cameron et al. 2016). Abusers are
perceived with less empathy (McKenna et al. 2012)and
eliciting less medial pre-frontal cortical activation (an area of
the brain necessary for human cognition, Harris and Fiske
2006). To consider the possibility that this denial of human-
ness extends to more common substance use, we examined
the effect of alcohol on dehumanization.
Dehumanized individuals are perceived as lacking self-
control and morality, as well as driven more by motives, ap-
petites, and instincts. Alcohol, especially in large quantities, is
expected to lead to disinhibition (Anderson et al. 2003;
McCarthy et al. 2001; Steele and Josephs 1990), which may
lead perceivers to attribute less cognitive sophistication and
rationality to drinking individuals. Alcohol disinhibition is
particularly common in sexual situations (Dermen and
Cooper 1994). Drinking men and women are perceived as
behaving in more sexually disinhibited manners than their
sober counterparts are (Abbey et al. 2000); however, drinking
women are more likely than are drinking men to be described
as sexually available and immoral, and thus also perceived as
Bacceptable^targets of sexual aggression (Kanin 1984;Scully
1991). Given the link between womens drinking behaviors
and ascriptions of disinhibition and immorality, we reasoned
that drinking women would be perceived as less human rela-
tive to non-drinking women as well as drinking and non-
drinking men.
We expected perceived intoxication would be an important
mechanism linking alcohol and dehumanization of women.
Recent research has revealed that whether or not individuals
are ascribed agency plays an important role in dehumanization
(Formanowicz et al. 2018). To be agentic is to be able to
intentionally bring about change in ones environmentre-
quiring intentions, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-
reflectiveness (Bandura 2006). Alcohol consumption may in-
fluence perceptions of agency, with greater perceived intoxi-
cation causing decreased perceptions of agency. Although
self-perceptions regarding feelings of intentionality and con-
trol are relatively stable regardless of alcohol consumption,
people commonly perceive intoxicated others as less agentic
with less control over their actions and with a narrower range
of emotional states (Davies et al. 2018). Importantly, women
are stereotypically perceived as lower in agency than men are
(Eagly and Kite 1987), suggesting that perceived intoxication
might play a larger role in the dehumanization of drinking
women specifically.
Finally, it is possible that the presence of alcohol makes
people think of women in sexual terms, which in turn sets
the stage for dehumanization. Specifically, there is a large
literature in the area of sexual objectificationseeing women
as sexual objects, with disproportionate focus on their sexual
appeal and functions (Bartky 1990; Fredrickson and Roberts
1997)and its link to dehumanization. For example, people
attribute sexualized women with less ability to experience
psychological or physical pleasure or pain (Loughnan et al.
2010), with less competence and warmth (Heflick and
Goldenberg 2009), and more animal-like traits (Morris et al.
2018; Puvia and Vaes 2013; Rudman and Mescher 2012; Vaes
et al. 2011). Although men are sometimes targets of objectifi-
cation, women experience objectification more frequently
(Davidson et al. 2013; Kozee et al. 2007) and with more
dehumanizing consequences than men (e.g., Heflick and
Goldenberg 2009).Takentogetherwithresearchsuggesting
that drinking women are seen more sexually (e.g., more
sexually interested, Abbey et al. 2000; more sexually
available, Abbey and Harnish 1995), it is possible that the
presence of alcohol will increase dehumanization of women
because drinking women are seen more sexually. We explored
this issue in two complementary ways. First, we measured
perceptions of sexual availability in Experiment 3. Second,
although our central focus in the present work was on dehu-
manization, we also explored whether the presence of alcohol
influenced objectification (see the online supplement for
analyses regarding the effect of alcohol on objectification),
given the links between dehumanization and objectification.
Overview of the Current Work
In the present work, we examined whether the presence of
alcohol caused people in the United States to dehumanize
young, White women. A large literature has indicated that
drinking women are evaluated negatively, but to our knowl-
edge, no research has examined directly whether drinking
women are seen as less human. To examine this possibility,
we manipulated the presence of alcohol across three studies by
depicting a woman holding a beer bottle or a water bottle and
then we measured dehumanization. We expected greater de-
humanization of the female target when alcohol was present
(Hypothesis 1). Importantly, because of gendered norms re-
garding alcohol consumption, we did not expect drinking men
to be dehumanized to the same extent as drinking women
(Experiment 2). In addition to target gender, we also examined
the effect of participantsgender on dehumanization
(Experiments 2 and 3). On one hand, research on perceptions
of alcohol consumption would suggest that male participants
will dehumanize drinking women more because men focus on
drinking womens sexual behaviors and functions to a greater
extent than women do (Abbey et al. 1996; Crowe and George
1989;Georgeetal.1988; Parks and Scheidt 2000). On the
other hand, research examining alcohol and social perceptions
reveal that both men and women perceive drinking women
negatively (i.e., low in social appeal, George et al. 1988),
suggesting that male and female participants may dehumanize
drinking women to the same extent.
Sex Roles
Importantly, we hypothesized that perceived intoxication
would emerge as a possible mechanism for the link between
the presence of alcohol and dehumanization of drinking wom-
en (Hypothesis 2). Using best practices for establishing a caus-
al chain (Spencer et al. 2005), we measured perceived intox-
ication and examined whether it emerged as an indirect effect
of the link between alcohol presence and dehumanization in
Experiments 1 and 2, whereas we manipulated intoxication by
introducing information about the number of drinks that the
woman had consumed in one setting after drinking alcohol or
not in Experiment 3. Finally, given prior research that has
linked the consumption of alcohol to perceived sexual avail-
ability (see Lindgren et al. 2008, for review), we hypothesized
alcohol would increase perceived sexual availability
(Hypothesis 3) and that perceived sexual availability would
emerge as a mechanism for the link between the presence of
alcohol and dehumanization (Hypothesis 4) in Experiment 3.
Experiment 1
Experiment 1 provided the first test of our hypotheses. Male
participants saw a picture of a young, White woman in a social
setting with a bottle of beer or water. They then provided
perceptions of her human attributes.
Because no known prior research has examined the effects of
alcohol on dehumanization, we expected medium effect sizes
and attempted to recruit approximately 2530 men per condition.
Sixty-four U.S. community men recruited from Amazons
Mechanical Turk participated in our study. As an attention check,
participants were asked five times throughout the study to choose
a particular answer choice to indicate they were paying attention.
Nine participants failed to correctly choose the appropriate an-
swers to all five attention checks, leaving a total of 55 men. Their
average age was 35.78 (SD = 13.12) and ranged from 19 to
64 years of age. Most of the men identified as White (78.2%,
43), whereas 9.1% (5) identified as Asian/Pacific Islander, 7.3%
(4) as Hispanic, 3.6% (2) as African American, and 1.8% (1)
identified themselves as Other. All data and study materials are
available from the first author upon request.
Procedure and Measures
The experiment was programmed via Qualtrics and alcohol
condition was manipulated with one of two pictures of a
White woman, aged 21 wearing dating attire at a generic
looking bar (see the online supplement). We chose to represent
the woman in this manner because the majority of our
participants were also White. Additionally, we reasoned that
the womans depicted behaviors (e.g., posting status to
Facebook, social drinking) would be regarded as normative
for a woman of this age because binge drinking among youn-
ger adults is more common than among older adults (Kanny
et al. 2018, please see Discussion for limitations of this
approach). Specifically, a Facebook profile and persona,
BSam Duncan,^was created with a picture of a woman drink-
ing a bottle of beer (alcohol condition) or a bottle of water
(control condition). Participants were randomly assigned to
view the experimental manipulation or control and provided
their perceptions of the woman in the picture. After providing
informed consent, participants completed the experiment and
were compensated with $.50.
Dehumanization Participants were asked to rate the extent to
which they denied the target of human qualities (Bastian et al.
2013b; see also Bastian and Haslam 2010). This eight-item
measure included four human uniqueness traits that distin-
guished Sam from a non-human animal (i.e., Sam appeared
refined and cultured [reversed]; Sam appeared rationale and
logical, like she was intelligent [reversed]; Sam appeared to
lack self-restraint, like an animal; Sam appeared unsophisti-
cated) and four human nature traits that distinguished Sam
from a non-human object (i.e., Sam appeared superficial, like
she had no depth; Sam appeared mechanical and cold, like a
robot; Sam appeared open minded, like she could think clearly
about things [reversed]; and Sam appeared emotional, like she
was responsive and warm [reversed]). Participants rated the
extent to which each item described Sam on a 7-point Likert-
type scale from 1 (NotatAll)to7(Very Much So), with higher
scores indicating greater dehumanization. Mean dehumaniza-
tion scores were calculated from all eight items (α=.83, the
correlation between the two subscales was r=.62, p<.001).
Because of previous research linking dehumanization and sex-
ual objectification (Heflick and Goldenberg 2009;Vaesetal.
2011), we also assessed objectification for exploratory pur-
poses. (See the online supplement for an explanation of this
measure and results.)
Alcohol Intoxication Alcohol intoxication was measured by
asking participants to rate the degree to which they perceived
the female target to be intoxicated. Items were: Sam appeared
to be tipsy, Sam appeared to be drunk, Sam appeared to be
buzzed, and Sam appeared to be intoxicated. These questions
were rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale from 1 (Not At All)to
7(Very Much So). Mean perceived alcohol intoxication scores
were calculated (α=.91).
Manipulation Checks Finally, participants were asked to indi-
cate their agreement with the statements, BSam was drinking
water^andBSam was drinking beer,^on a 7-point Likert-type
scale from 1 (Not At All)to7(Very Much So).
Sex Roles
First, the two manipulation checks were submitted to separate
one-way Analyses of Variance (ANOVAs). Confirming that
our manipulation was successful, participants in the control
condition (M=5.76,SD = 2.25) indicated that Sam was drink-
ing water more than participants in the alcohol condition (M=
1.42, SD = 1.33), F(1, 53) = 73.56, p< .0001, η
whereas participants in the alcohol condition (M=6.04,
SD = 1.89) indicated that Sam was drinking beer more than
participants in the water condition (M=1.69,SD =1.71),F(1,
61) = 80.28, p<.0001, η
= .60. Participantsage was unre-
lated to any variables (rs=.20 -.03, ps > .15) and was not
considered in the remaining analyses.
Second, all dependent variables were submitted to separate
one-way ANOVAs. Consistent with Hypothesis 1, there was
an effect of alcohol condition on dehumanization, F(1, 53) =
4.57, p=.037, η
= .08. The female target drinking alcohol
(M=3.23,SD = .98) was dehumanized more than the female
target pictured drinking water (M=2.69,SD =.90).Therewas
also a significant effect of alcohol condition on perceived
intoxication, F(1, 53) = 14.59, p<.001,η
= .22. The female
target drinking alcohol (M=2.39, SD = 1.16) was perceived
as more intoxicated than the female target pictured drinking
water (M=1.42, SD =.69).
We also examined whether perceived intoxication
emerged as a mediator of the link between alcohol con-
dition and dehumanization. Using Hayes(2018)
Process Macro (Model 4) in SPSS we tested a model
(see Fig. 1) in which alcohol condition was the predic-
tor (dummy coded, X), perceived intoxication was the
mediator (M), and dehumanization was the outcome
(Y), with 5000 bootstrapped samples. The proportions
of variance explained in the model were R
=.22 for
perceived intoxication and R
= .28 for dehumanization.
Consistent with Hypothesis 2, the alcohol condition was
directly related to increased perceived intoxication, and
perceived intoxication was related to increased dehu-
manization. Furthermore, the alcohol condition was
found to indirectly increase dehumanization of drinking
womenthroughperceivedintoxication(B=.44, SE =.14,
95% CI [.2027, .7367]).
Consistent with hypotheses, the presence of alcohol
contributed to more dehumanization and perceived in-
toxication. An indirect effect of perceived intoxication
was found, suggesting that perceived intoxication is a
mechanism linking alcohol consumption and dehumani-
zation. These results suggest that beyond the mere pres-
ence of alcohol, intoxication of women leads men to
perceive women as less than human.
Experiment 2
Although understanding mens perceptions of drinking wom-
en is an important first step, we also explored whether these
effects were limited to male perceivers and female targets.
Thus, Experiment 2 included a sample of female and male
participants, as well as male and female targets, to better un-
derstand how gender of perceivers and targets may shape per-
ceptions of drinking individuals.
Participants were 216 U.S. men and women from Amazons
Mechanical Turk. Four failed to pass attention checks (as de-
scribed in Experiment 1), 14 failed to correctly identify the
targets gender at the end of the study, and one participant
failed to indicate their gender, so a total of 91 men and 106
women were included in analyses. The average age of this
sample was 35.19 (SD = 11.17) and ranged from 19 years of
age to 71 years-old. Also in this sample, 72.7% (143) identi-
fied as Caucasian Non-Hispanic, 8.1% (16) as Asian/Pacific
Island, 3% (6) as Hispanic, 12.1% (24) as African American,
2% (4) as Native American, and 2% (4) identified themselves
as Other.
Procedure and Measures
The procedure in Experiment 2 followedthat of Experiment 1;
however, in Experiment 2 we also manipulated targetsgen-
der. In particular, Sam was the same female target holding a
beer or water bottle as in Experiment 1 for half of the partic-
ipants, or Sam was a male target holding a beer or water bottle
for the other half of participants (see the online supplement for
the photo stimuli). Participants were randomly assigned to
view one of four of the photos of Sam. Measures were exactly
the same as in Experiment 1 (dehumanization, α=.80; per-
ceived intoxication, α=.94).
Condition Dehumanization
.97 (.25)*** .46 (.12)***
.10 (.26)
Fig. 1 Mediation of alcohol condition on dehumanization through
perceived intoxication in experiment 1. Unstandardized coefficients
(standard errors). ***p<.001
Sex Roles
As in Experiment 1, our results confirmed that our manipula-
tions were successful. Participants inthe water condition (M=
4.89, SD = .20) indicated that the target was drinking water
more than participants in the alcohol condition (M= 1.70,
SD = .19), F(1, 195) = 133.38, p<.0001, η
=.41, whereas
participants in the alcohol condition (M=5.38, SD =.20) in-
dicated that the target was drinking beer more than partici-
pants in the water condition (M= 2.37, SD = .21), F(1,
196) = 106.10, p<.0001,η
= .35. Participantsage was un-
related to any variables (rs=.06 -.15, ps > .06), and thus
age was not considered in the remaining analyses.
All dependent variables were then submitted to separate 2
alcohol condition (beer, water) × 2 target gender (male, fe-
male) × 2 participant gender (male, female) ANOVAs. The
two-way interaction between participant gender × target gen-
der and the three-way interaction were not significant for de-
humanization (p
= .85) or for perceived
intoxication (p
=.12, p
= .68), suggesting there
were no differences between male and female participants
perceptions of targets. As a result, we submitted all dependent
variables to separate 2 alcohol condition (beer, water) × 2 tar-
get gender (male, female) ANOVAs.
As hypothesized, there was a significant main effect of
alcohol condition, F(1, 194) = 5.95, p=.02,η
=.03; inline
with Hypothesis 1, targets in the alcohol condition (M=3.10,
SD = .09) were dehumanized more than targets in the water
condition (M=2.97, SD = .10). Importantly, this main effect
was qualified by a significant alcohol condition × target gen-
der interaction depicted in Fig. 2,F(1, 194) = 7.68, p=.006,
= .04. Female targets in the alcohol condition (M=3.30,
SD = .13) were dehumanized more than all other targets (ps
< .035). Moreover, male targets in the alcohol condition (M=
2.90, SD = .14), male targets in the water condition (M=3.15,
SD = .14), and female targets in the watercondition (M=2.80,
SD = .14) were similarly dehumanized (ps > .07) less than
were female targets in the alcohol condition. No other effects
emerged (ps > .19).
Furthermore, the main effect of alcohol condition on per-
ceived intoxication emerged, F(1, 194) = 5.41, p=.02,
= .03; targets in the alcohol condition (M= 2.73,
SD = .15) were perceived as more intoxicated than targets in
the water condition (M=2.23,SD = .16). This main effect was
unexpectedly qualified by an alcohol condition × target gen-
der interaction, F(1, 194) = 14.00, p<.0001,η
=.07. Inthe
alcohol condition, male (M=2.45,SD = .22) and female (M=
3.01, SD = .20) targets were perceived as similarly intoxicated
(p= .06), but in the water condition, female targets (M=1.70,
SD = .23) were perceived as less intoxicated than male targets
(M=2.76, SD =.22) (p= .001). It is possible that this unex-
pected difference was due to stereotypes suggesting that men
drink more, and to a greater degree, than women do (Capraro
2000;Gomberg1993; Landrine et al. 1988; Ricciardelli et al.
2001), even though alcohol was absent but because the targets
were pictured in a drinking setting (i.e., bar).
Finally, we again examined whether perceived intoxication
emerged as a mechanism for the dehumanization of drinking
women using the same Process Macro in SPSS (Model 4,
Hayes 2018), specifically with the female targets (see
Fig. 3). The proportions of variance explained in the model
were R
= .18 for perceived intoxication and R
=.46 for de-
humanization. Consistent with Hypothesis 2, the alcohol con-
dition was directly related to greater perceived intoxication,
and perceived intoxication was related to increased dehuman-
ization for female targets. Additionally, results revealed an
indirect effect of alcohol condition on dehumanization
through perceived intoxication (B=.57, SE = .13, 95% CI
[.3384, .8309]), suggesting that intoxication perception is a
mechanism of the effects of alcohol consumption on
Female target Male target
Target Gender
Alcohol conditio
Water condition
Fig. 2 Interactive effect of alcohol condition and target gender on
dehumanization. Only the female target in the alcohol condition was
significantly different from the other three groups at the p< .05 level.
Dehumanization was measured on a 1 to 7 Likert scale
Condition Dehumanization
1.31 (.28)*** .44 (.05)***
-.07 (.16)
Fig. 3 Mediation of alcohol condition on dehumanization through
perceived intoxication in experiment 2. Unstandardized coefficients
(standard errors). ***p<.001
Sex Roles
Replicating the effects found in Experiment 1, and consistent
with hypotheses, the presence of alcohol contributed to more
dehumanization and perceived intoxication of women, but not
of men. Furthermore, as in Experiment 1, perceived intoxica-
tion emerged as a mediator of the link between alcohol con-
dition and dehumanization of drinking women. Additionally,
Experiment 2 extended Experiment 1 by revealing that both
men and women dehumanized drinking women and that the
effects of alcohol presence on dehumanization are limited to
female targets. The results from Experiments 1 and 2 are con-
sistent with perceived intoxication as an explanatory factor of
the link between alcohol condition and dehumanization; how-
ever, it is impossible to conclude that this relation is causal
given both intoxication and dehumanization were measured.
To further explore the potential causal relation, Experiment 3
extended Experiments 1 and 2 by manipulating intoxication.
Further, linking the present work to prior work in this area,
Experiment 3 examined the links between intoxication and
dehumanization with perceived sexual availability of drinking
Experiment 3
We expected that perceived sexual availability would play an
important role in mediating the effect of alcohol on perceiving
women as less human. Research examining the consequences
of alcohol intoxication has revealed that the presence of alco-
hol increases perceptions of drinking women as sexually
available (Lindgren et al. 2008, for a review); however, little
work has examined how these perceptions of sexual availabil-
ity influence broader social perceptions of women. Similar to
drinking individuals, sexualized women are commonly as-
cribed less agency than non-sexualized women and men are
(Blake et al. 2016;Cikaraetal.2011;Loughnanetal.2010;
Nussbaum 1995). Moreover, research examining the relation
of sexualization and sexual aggression has revealed that sex-
ually aggressive acts that are abetted by dehumanizing women
are more likely to occur when women are perceived as sexu-
ally open and lacking agency (Blake et al. 2016). As a result,
we expected perceived sexual availability to emerge as a
mechanism in the relation between the presence of alcohol
and dehumanization.
A total of 181 people in the United States participated in our
study. However, 35 failed to pass attention checks (described
in Experiment 1) and were removed from analyses. Thirty-one
(20%) participants were students from a small private north-
eastern institution and received course credit for participating
whereas 117 (80%) participants came from Amazons
Mechanical Turk and received $.50 for participating.
Additionally, 2 participants failed to report their gender and
as a result a total of 61 (42%) men and 85 (58%) women were
included in the analyses. The average age of this sample was
30.21 (SD = 10.71) and ranged from 17 to 62 years of age. In
terms of racial/ethnic identification, 80.8% (118) identified as
Caucasian Non-Hispanic, 7.5% (11) as Asian/Pacific Island,
and 4.6% (7) as Hispanic, 6.8% (10) as African American.
Procedure and Measures
The alcohol condition was manipulated in the same way as in
Experiment 1, with a female target holding a beer or water
bottle. Additionally, we added a quantity manipulation to
directly manipulate alcohol intoxication. Participants were
randomly assigned to an Bambiguous quantity^or Bmultiple
drinks^condition. In the Bambiguous quantity^condition,
participants saw the womans profile with a single beer or
water as in Experiments 1 and 2, whereas in the Bmultiple^
drinks condition, participants also saw a Facebook status
update conveying either four waters or four beers had been
consumed (i.e., B4 drinks in! ha ha keep it coming! Hooray
for the weekend!^or B4 waters in! ha ha keep it coming!
Hooray for the weekend!^). The statuses were identical ex-
cept for the use of Bdrinks^or Bwater^in the sentence.
Although our quantity conditions differ on whether a status
update was present (multiple drinks condition) or absent
(ambiguous quantity condition), we considered modifying
the ambiguous quantity condition (used in prior
Experiments) with a similar status update (e.g., B1drink
[water] and done! Hooray for the weekend!), but decided
against this approach because we did not want to inadver-
tently imply that more drinking had already occurred.
Additionally, including the ambiguous condition without
a status update allowed for a direct replication of the drink-
ing condition included Experiments 1 and 2 on dehumani-
zation and an extension to sexual availability. We return to
the limitations of this approach in the General Discussion.
The measure of dehumanization was the same as in
Experiments 1 and 2 (α= .86). Sexual availability items were
created by asking participants about their perceptions that Sam
was sexually accessible. Specifically, participants were asked
to complete four items in response to a sentence stem: How
likely is it that Sam(a) is single? (b) would engage in casual
sex? (c) engages in risky sexual behavior?, and (d) would have
a one-night stand? Responses were given on a 7-point scale
from 1 (Not at all)to7(Likely). Mean sexual availability
scores were calculated (α= .79). We confirmed that partici-
pants noted the drink quantity manipulation by asking partic-
ipants to indicate if the person in the picture consumed either
Sex Roles
one drink or multiple drinks (forced choice). In addition, so-
berness of the female target was measured by asking partici-
pants BHow sober did the person in the photograph appear^
using a 5-point Likert-type scale 1 (Completely sober)to5
(Very intoxicated).
First, the manipulation check was submitted to separate 2
alcohol condition (beer, water)× 2 quantity condition (ambig-
uous quantity, multiple) × participant gender (men, women)
ANOVAs. There was an effect of alcohol condition, F(1,
137) = 32.17, p<.0001, η
= .19, with the female target in
the alcohol condition (M=2.01, SD = .89) perceived as less
sober than the female target in the water condition (M=1.28,
SD = .59). The effect of quantity on soberness was not signif-
icant, F(1, 138) = 3.18, p=.077, η
= .02. Yet, the alcohol ×
quantity interaction was significant, F(1, 138) = 8.11,
= .06. In the alcohol condition, the female target
was regarded as less sober in the multiple drinks condition
(M=2.32,SD = .88) than in the ambiguous quantity condition
(M=1.74, SD =.82), F(1, 137) = 11.21, p= .001, η
whereas in the water condition, the female target was regarded
as equally sober when she had multiple drinks (M=1.25,
SD = .51) and an ambiguous quantity (M=1.38, SD =.68),
p= .46. Together, these results suggest that the manipulations
were successful. Participantsage was unrelated to any vari-
ables (rs.12 -.09, ps > .14) and was not considered in the
remaining analyses.
Second, all dependent variables were submitted to separate
2 alcohol condition (beer, water) × 2 quantity condition (am-
biguous quantity, multiple) × participant gender (male, fe-
male) ANOVAs. Similar to Experiment 2, there was no main
effect of gender (ps < .52) nor were there any significant two-
way or three-way interactions including gender for dehuman-
ization (ps
= .29) or for perceived sexu-
al availability (ps
< .27, p
= .54), suggesting
there were no differences between male and female partici-
pantsperceptions of targets. As a result, we submitted all
dependent variables to separate 2 alcohol condition (beer, wa-
ter) × 2 quantity condition (ambiguous, multiple) ANOVAs.
Consistent with Hypothesis 1, and with Experiments 1 and
2, there were significant main effects of alcohol condition,
F(1, 142) = 18.85, p< .0001, η
= .12, and quantity condi-
tion, F(1, 142) = 4.29, p<.0001, η
=.03, on dehumaniza-
tion. Female targets were dehumanized more in the alcohol
(M=3.68, SD = 1.12) relative to water (M=2.96, SD =.97)
conditions, as well as in the multiple (M=3.45, SD =1.13)
relative to ambiguous quantity (M=3.18, SD = 1.08) condi-
tions. Contrary to our hypothesis, the expected alcohol ×
quantity interaction was not significant, F(1, 142) = .08,
p=.77, η
Regarding sexual availability, and in line with Hypothesis
3, there was an effect of alcohol condition, F(1, 138) = 18.54,
= .12; the female target in the alcohol condition
(M=4.79, SD = 1.30) was perceived as more sexually avail-
able than was the female target in the water condition (M=
3.92, SD = 1.26). There was also a main effect of quantity on
sexual availability, F(1, 138) = 5.18, p=.02,η
= .04; the fe-
male target in the multiple drinks condition (M=4.50, SD =
1.41) was perceived as more sexually available than was the
female target in the ambiguous quantity condition (M=4.19,
SD = 1.16). Like the results for dehumanization, the expected
alcohol × quantity interaction was not significant, F(1,
142) = .23, p=.63,η
Finally, we tested a mediation model (see Fig. 4), including
alcohol condition as the predictor (X), perceived sexual avail-
ability (M1) as the mediator, and dehumanization as the out-
come (Y), using Hayes(2018) Process Macro in SPSS with
5000 bootstrapped samples (Model 4). The proportions of
variance explained in the model were R
= .11 for perceived
sexual availability and R
= .36 for dehumanization. With
respect to the direct effects, there was a positive effect of
alcohol condition on perceived sexual availability and de-
humanization. Additionally, there was a positive direct ef-
fect of perceived sexual availability on dehumanization.
With respect to the indirect effect and consistent with
Hypothesis 4, perceived sexual availability emerged as a
mediator of the link between alcohol condition and dehu-
manization (B= .40, SE .12, 95% CI [.1901, .6665]).
Importantly, although the direct effect was still significant,
an indirect effect can exist, even when the X Yrelation-
ship is not fully mediated, in this case, the outcome is
caused by the predictor, mediator, and some other unmea-
sured variable. We also ran a parallel model including quan-
tity (vs. alcohol) as the predictor, but it did not significantly
predict perceived sexual availability (p= .13) or dehuman-
ization (p= .49), and the indirect effect was not significant
(B= .16, SE =.10, 95% CI=[.0449, .3623]), suggesting
that the quantity of drinks did not indirectly influence
dehumanized perceptions of drinking women through in-
creasing perceptions of sexual availability.
Condition Dehumanization
Perceived Sexual
.68 (.16)*** .59 (.08)***
.32 (.16)*
Fig. 4 Mediation of alcohol condition on dehumanization through
perceived sexual availability in experiment 3. Unstandardized
coefficients (standard errors). *p =.05.***p<.001
Sex Roles
General Discussion
Alcohol creates negative social perceptions of intoxicated
women compared to their sober counterparts. In the present
research, we integrated research on alcohol, gender, and social
perception with Haslams(2006) conceptualization of dehu-
manization to examine whether these negative impressions
extend to dehumanization. Across all three experiments and
consistent with hypotheses, young women depicted in a social
setting with a bottle of beer were seen less as humans.
Importantly, Experiment 2 revealed that dehumanization was
specific to women drinking alcoholregardless of whether
men were drinking alcohol or not, men were dehumanized
to a lesser extent than were women drinking alcohol.
Furthermore, perceived intoxication emerged as a mechanism
of the link between the presence of alcohol and dehumaniza-
tion. In Experiments 1 and 2, perceptions that the woman was
intoxicated emerged as an indirect effect of the link between
alcohol presence and denial of humanness. In Experiment 3,
we found that perceived sexual availability emerged as an
indirect effect of the link between alcohol presence and denial
of humanness.
We also examined whether perceived intoxication emerged
as a significant mediator of the link between alcohol presence
and dehumanization. The findings across studies were some-
what mixed. Although the findings from Experiments 1 and 2
were promising with the significant indirect effect of per-
ceived intoxication for the cause of alcohol on dehumaniza-
tion, the findings of Experiment 3 did not completely align
with the perceived intoxication explanation. Replicating
Experiments 1 and 2, the presence of alcohol, regardless of
quantity, caused more dehumanization. Additionally, in
Experiment 3, multiple beverages, regardless of type (beer
or water), caused people to attribute women with less human
attributes. Although the manipulation of alcohol presence and
quantity had the intended effects, with women perceived as
less sober when depicted as drinking multiple beers (relative
to an ambiguous quantity of beers, an ambiguous quantity of
waters, or multiple waters), the interaction between alcohol
and quantity did not emerge on the primary dependent mea-
sures. This effect was expected when the woman was depicted
as drinking beer, but it was not expected when she was drink-
ing water. Yet, an exploration into the simple effects revealed
that in both the multiple and ambiguous quantity conditions,
female targets depicted drinking beer were dehumanized more
than female targets depicted drinking water. In other words,
drinking women are dehumanized more than non-drinking
women, but the interaction was not significant because female
targets drinking multiple beers were only marginally more
dehumanized than were female targets drinking an ambiguous
number of beers.
We also extended the present work to examine the links
among alcohol, dehumanization, and sexual availability.
Specifically, we estimated a model in which alcohol presence
was the predictor and dehumanization was the outcome, with
sexual availability as a potential mediator of the alcohol
dehumanization link. Consistent with the univariate analyses,
the direct effects revealed that the alcohol condition predicted
greater dehumanization as well as greater sexual availability.
Greater perceived sexual availability also predicted dehuman-
ization. With respect to the indirect effects, sexual availability
emerged as a significant mediator of the link between alcohol
presence and dehumanization. These results suggest that the
presence of alcohol leads to perceptions of women as sexually
disinhibited and that womens sexual inhibitions are essential
to ascriptions of humanity. These effects did not emerge when
quantity was entered as the predictor instead of alcohol, but
this finding is somewhat expected considering that the effects
of quantity were the same in the alcohol condition as in the
water condition.
Limitations and Future Directions
Although the present work has several theoretical and practi-
cal implications, it is not without its limitations. The effects of
alcohol on dehumanization were consistent across experi-
ments, but the effect of drink quantity on dehumanization
was less clear and should be interpreted with caution. An
exploratory look at the simple effects showed that drinking
women were dehumanized and perceived as more sexually
available than non-drinking women were in both the multiple
and ambiguous quantity conditions. Thus, although alcohol
consumption is linked with dehumanization, the quantity of
alcohol consumed did not map directly onto our predictions. It
is possible that the manipulation of drink quantity was too
weak. In the multiple drink condition, it is possible that four
beers did not indicate great enough alcohol consumption; it is
also possible that the ambiguous drink condition may have
been perceived as beginning (or ending) a night of many
drinks instead of the pictured one alcoholic drink. Therefore,
future research should continue to investigate the effects of
quantity to better determine if quantity plays a role in the
dehumanization process.
Furthermore, the current work lacks the ability to parse out
whether the effects of alcohol on dehumanization were driven
by perceiving drinking women as more like animals (animal-
istic dehumanization) or more like objects (mechanistic dehu-
manization). On one hand, because previous research shows
that drinking women are perceived as disinhibited and disin-
hibition is associated with animalistic dehumanization, it pos-
sible that our findings may be stronger for animalistic dehu-
manization than for mechanistic dehumanization. On the other
hand, it possible that a severely intoxicated woman (e.g.,
someone who is passed out) is also mechanistically
dehumanized. However, as in previous research using the
same dehumanization scale (Bastian et al. 2013a), the current
Sex Roles
work revealed low reliabilities for the animalistic and mecha-
nistic scales when separated, eliminating our ability to con-
clude that alcohol had a specific effect on either animalistic or
mechanistic dehumanization. Replicationefforts are necessary
with subscales with stronger psychometric properties to con-
firm the effects of alcohol on these outcomes.
Because of the larger literature showing negative social
perceptions of drinking women, we expected dehumanization
of drinking female targets to a greater extent than of drinking
male targets. In Experiment 2, male targets drinking alcohol
were attributed similar human attributes to male targets drink-
ing water. Based on this preliminary finding, it appears that the
mere presence of alcohol does not necessarily lead to dehu-
manization of drinking men. Yet, it remains a question open
for examination. It is possible that if we explicitly manipulated
intoxication for male targets, they would be perceived in a
dehumanized manner similar to women. Future research
should explicitly incorporate male targets into the theoretical
rationale as well as the experiments themselves.
An additional limitation is in regard to our use of a White,
young, and presumably heterosexual target. Consequently, it
remains unclear whether the same effects would emerge for
targets that represent racial and ethnic minorities, older indi-
viduals, or sexual minorities. For example, prior research
shows that African Americans are dehumanized to a greater
degree than are European Americans (Goff et al. 2008)and
compared to White women, Black women tend to be per-
ceived as more sexually promiscuous (Rosenthal and Lobel
2016). Likewise, prior research shows that older individuals
tend to be dehumanized more than younger individuals are
(Wiener et al. 2014),andgaymenandlesbiansare
dehumanized to a greater degree than are heterosexual men
and women (Fasoli et al. 2015). It is possible then, that greater
dehumanization would emerge when alcohol is presented in
conjunction with targets who are also racial/ethnic minorities,
older, and/or sexual minorities. Future research would benefit
from considering the effect of intersectional identities of
drinking targets perceived humanness attributes.
Practice Implications
Our work extends research on alcohol, gender, and social
perception. In addition to other negative social perceptions
of drinking women, alcohol appears to increase dehumaniza-
tion of women. These findings may have troubling implica-
tions because dehumanization has been linked to aggression in
general (Bandura et al. 1975) and sexual aggression specifi-
cally (Rudman and Mescher 2012). When drinking women
are seen as less human, these dehumanizing perceptions may
lay the foundation for other adverse outcomes (e.g., sexual
assault; disregard for womens health during social and sexual
encounters). Although we did not examine sexual aggression
in the present work, we did find that drinking women were
perceived as more sexually available and that this perception
was a significant mediator of the effect of alcohol on dehu-
manization. In other words, the presence of alcohol led to
perceptions that women were more willing to have casual
sex, more willing to have a one-night stand, and more willing
to engage in risky sex, and these perceptions helped explain
perceptions that the woman was more animal- and object-like.
If men see women as more sexually available and less than
human, they may be more willing to sexually aggress, forcing
them (verbally or physically) into unwanted sex (Abbey et al.
ual behaviors (e.g., pressuring them to have sex without a
condom, Davis and Logan-Greene 2012). For clinicians, these
findings could help researchers explain a range of problematic
health-related behaviors that occur in social-sexual situations
with drinking women. In particular, interventions designed at
increasing accurate perceptions of womens sexual interest
and decreased support of rape myths (Grubb and Turner
2012) may have the potential to increase perceptions of drink-
ing womens humanness, with potential to reduce likelihood
to engage in sexual assault and increase overall concern re-
garding womens health in sexual encounters.
Interestingly, we found similar effects of alcohol on dehu-
manization by both men and women. Although it seems un-
likely that women would sexually aggress against women in
the same way as men, if women perceive drinking women as
less human, they may be less likely to intervene in ways to
reduce sexual risk. Many sexual assault intervention and pre-
vention efforts incorporate an element that encourages male
and female bystanders to intervene in situations involving
sexual risk (Banyard et al. 2007), and female bystanders are
typically more likely to intervene than are male bystanders
(Burn 2009). Yet, if women see potential female victims as
less human and deserving of the moral protections typically
afforded to people (Bandura 1999) because they have been
drinking, then they may be less likely to intervene to help
the woman avoid being sexually victimized.
To our knowledge, ours is the first research to integrate dehu-
manization theory with research on alcohol and social percep-
tion. Whereas most prior research in the area of dehumaniza-
tion has focused on specific groups of other people who are
excluded from humanity (e.g., outgroups vs. ingroups, other
people vs. the self, Haslam 2006; groups regarded as
incompetent and cold, Harris and Fiske 2006), the present
research examined a specific contextual target factor that
may cause dehumanization. With respect to implications for
theories of dehumanization, our results are the first known to
suggest that the presence of alcohol caused dehumanization of
women. Although previous work has identified links between
substance use and dehumanization (Harris and Fiske 2006),
Sex Roles
our work suggests that much less extreme forms of substance
use (e.g., social drinking) are also associated with dehumani-
zation. This result is consistent with the idea raised by Haslam
(2006) that dehumanization is not a phenomena limited to
extreme forms of intergroup conflict and violence, but also
can correspond to basic social cognitive processes that emerge
in our everyday impressions of others, namely social percep-
tion of drinking women. Beyond social perception, the trou-
bling finding that alcohol contributes to dehumanization may
pave the way for many negative social behaviors toward
drinking women, suggesting that bar banter regarding percep-
tions of drinking women may lead to more insidious
Acknowledgments We would like to thank Ellen Dudley for her assis-
tance with data collection for Study 1. This represented a portion of her
undergraduate honorsthesis.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All of the research reported in the manuscript complies with APA ethical
standards in the treatment of human participants. The Institutional
Review Board of the University at which this study was conducted ap-
proved of the study and informed consent procedures.
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... Despite the liberalisation of gender roles during the past decades, most people do not really approve of alcohol consumption and sexual behaviour in women. In fact, women who drink alcohol are frequently perceived as being more sexually accessible and promiscuous, compared to women who do not drink (Riemer et al. 2019). ...
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This paper explores the linkage between alcohol abuse and rape cases in Limpopo Province of South Africa. Contemporarily in South Africa, the media is saturated with news and reports of rape incidences. Official police records and crime statistics have also shown an increase in the menace.Although measures were taken by the State to address the menace, they have not really been productive. From the findings of a broader doctoral study, using qualitative method approach, it was discovered that there is a strong linkage between alcohol abuse and rape in Limpopo province. In point of fact, alcohol abuse was reputed as the main causative factor of rape in the province. The researchers also found that despite the increased awareness level of the linkage between alcohol abuse and rape, appropriate actions at combating the menace were found to be weak and ineffective.
... At an individual level, our findings suggest that women who engage in sex-related substance use may benefit from a harm-reduction model of care that centers women's perceived benefits of substance use (e.g., increasing sexual excitation). At a social justice level, it is important to note that perpetrators may be more likely to dehumanize and hypersexualize sexual minority women (particularly bisexual women) if those women use substances in sexual contexts (Legge et al., 2018;Riemer et al., 2019). Very tentatively, our findings could point to the need for assault prevention programming to highlighting the intrinsic humanity in women's desire to increase their sexual excitation and sense of emotional closeness with a partnerincluding via substance use. ...
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Despite documented negative sexual health sequelae of unwanted sexual contact (USC), it is unclear why individuals who have experienced USC within the context of intoxication (intoxication-related USC) are at particular risk for poor sexual functioning. Intoxication-related USC may impact relational factors like relationship satisfaction, as trauma symptoms interfere with emotional closeness during sex. Additionally, although individual traits-such as sexual excitation and sensation seeking-affect the relationship between trauma and sexual functioning, it is unknown whether these factors differentially impact those who have experienced intoxication-related USC. Finally, because presence of a partner may evoke trauma-related symptoms during partnered (dyadic) sexual activity, mediators may differ across solitary versus dyadic sexual pleasure and desire. We tested relational and individual trait mediators of the association between intoxication-related USC and solitary and dyadic sexual pleasure and desire in a sample of heterosexual and sexual minority women. Trait factors consistently mediated the association between intoxication-related USC and both dyadic and solitary desire and pleasure, while relational factors such as emotional closeness were inconsistently related to sexual wellbeing. If replicated, these findings would suggest that trait factors may be useful targets for clinical sexual wellness interventions among sexuality-diverse women who have experienced intoxication-related USC.
... A study by Spencer (2016) found that rape victim-survivors from low socioeconomic backgrounds were more often rated as 'promiscuous' than victim-survivors from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and that this correlated with higher levels of blame and negative attitudes towards victim-survivors from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, Riemer et al. (2018) found that by merely holding an alcoholic beverage, women were routinely dehumanised and assessed as sexually available. ...
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This PhD explored the role of rape myths and cultural narratives in serious sexual offences trials in England. The relationship between rape myths and cultural narratives that reflect structural oppressions such as sexism, classism, and ableism, is important to examine in the context of trials because attrition evidence shows that minoritised and marginalised women face particular barriers when accessing criminal justice. Court observations were used because they provide insight into the overarching trial narrative that is unaffected by participant recall (as would be the case in using interview and survey methods). Data were analysed using an intersectional feminist frame informed by critical discourse analysis, both of which focus on power structures. The key findings were that rape myths continue to permeate trial narratives, that they are re/produced by oppressive cultural narratives, and that these work together to undermine the credibility of victim-survivors. Structural inequalities and systems of oppression are reflected, often subtly, in the narratives deployed by barristers at trial and thus the credibility of victim-survivors is undermined in relation to how they are perceived and portrayed. These findings show that it is important to look beyond rape myths as an explanation for poor justice outcomes for victim-survivors of sexual violence and that structural inequalities and systems of oppression should be properly considered in future research, policy, and reform.
... It is estimated that one in five women on a U.S. college campus will be a victim of sexual assault (Krebs et al. 2009), where alcohol related assaults are prevalent (Abbey 2002;Foubert et al. 2019). Men are more likely to view a woman who appears to be drinking as more sexually available (Abbey 2011;Abbey et al. 2001) and as less human (Riemer et al. 2019) than non-drinking women, which could increase having a sexual focus on drinking women leading to instances of sexual objectification (Haikalis et al. 2015). Women who report having higher rates of sexual objectification experiences are at risk for also experiencing higher rates of sexual assault (Haikalis et al. 2015). ...
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Alcohol consumption is on the rise among U.S. women, especially college women, despite the negative consequences that uniquely and disproportionately affect them. The current work integrates objectification theory and related research with literature on drinking motivations to explore how women’s experiences living in a culture that constantly objectifies the female body is associated with women’s consumption of alcohol. Among a sample of 539 female U.S. college students, the present study examined how differentially valenced responses to interpersonal sexual objectification (enjoyment of sexualization or body shame) contribute to distinct drinking motivations and outcomes. Results showed general support for the proposed serial mediational model. The link between sexual objectification and drinking frequency was mediated by self-objectification, enjoyment of sexualization, and drinking for enhancement, social and conformity motives, and by self-objectification, body shame, and the conformity motive. Finally, sexual objectification was related to drinking quantity through self-objectification, enjoyment of sexualization, and the enhancement drinking motive. These findings suggest that objectification experiences and resulting negative and positive inner states are important predictors of alcohol consumption. The integration of objectification theory with drinking motives sheds light on additional negative consequences associated with women living in a patriarchal society, including increased alcohol use. This model, if confirmed by future research, may provide promising avenues for reducing women’s drinking and thus minimizing the negative consequences they experience from alcohol.
... These findings are further echoed by a recent study conducted in the United States exploring the perceptions towards women who drink in social contexts. Researchers found that women drinking alcohol in public spaces are more likely to be seen negatively, to be dehumanized and perceived to be more sexually available by both genders, whereas men who drink alcohol were not perceived as negatively [41]. Correlates of energy drinks consumption amongst survey respondents. ...
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Background Energy drinks (ED) are caffeine- and sugar-rich beverages with other ingredients that are marketed for their energy-boosting and performance-enhancing effects. The consumption of these drinks, with and without alcohol, is dramatically increasing worldwide, despite the reported side effects and potential harms to consumers. Few studies, to date, have explored the perceptions and experiences of young adults towards these beverages. Objective The present study aimed to explore the consumption patterns and correlates of ED consumption, as well as the perceptions and experiences of university students in Lebanon towards these beverages. Methods A sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach was adopted. Data collection was conducted in two private universities in Beirut, Lebanon. A self-administered 36-item quantitative survey was first used to explore the prevalence and correlates of ED consumption among a convenience sample of university students (n = 226). The survey included questions related to socio-demographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements, and other lifestyle behaviors, including physical activity of university students. The subsequent qualitative phase consisted of focus group discussions (FGD) conducted to further examine the perceptions and experiences of university students towards ED. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analyses were conducted using survey data, whereas the transcribed FGD were analyzed thematically. Results A total of 226 university students completed the survey. Results showed that 45% of survey respondents consumed ED at least once in their life (ever consumers), among which 30% reported consumption of ED mixed with alcohol (AmED). Adjusting for socio-demographic and anthropometric characteristics, coffee and sports drinks consumption were significantly associated with ED (OR = 2.45, 95% CI = 1.20, 5.00, and OR = 4.88, 95%CI = 2.41, 9.88, respectively). In addition, physically active participants were 1.89 times (95%CI = 1.01, 3.51) more likely to consume ED compared to their inactive counterparts. During the qualitative phase, a total of six FGD were conducted with 29 university students, who reported consuming ED at least once per month. Three main themes were derived reflecting individual-, interpersonal/social- and environmental-level factors affecting ED consumption among university students. These themes were further supported by eight subthemes, including: perceived benefits of ED, experienced side effects, misinformation about content of ED, peer pressure and social image, as well as affordability and accessibility of ED. Conclusion Findings highlight the need for public health policies and programs to curb the growing public health phenomenon of ED consumption amongst university students. Such programs should consider the multi-level factors affecting ED consumption at the individual, interpersonal/social, and environmental levels, including educational campaigns on ED potential harms, regulating ED content and labeling, as well as restricting sales and marketing of these beverages, especially among young consumers.
... Consistent with this possibility, a recent study found a significant correlation between the amount of makeup and perceived socio-sexuality; that is, the more makeup women wore, the more people perceived these women as being comfortable and enjoying "casual" sex with different partners (Batres et al. 2018). In addition, recent research showed that sexual availability and dehumanization were correlated (Riemer et al. 2018). ...
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Objectification theory suggests that sexualization has significant dehumanizing consequences for how perceivers see women. To date, research has mostly documented how sexualized bodies in the mass media are objectified and dehumanized. The purpose of the present work was to test the novel cosmetics dehumanization hypothesis (CDH), that is, that subtler manifestations of sexualization, such as heavy makeup, might influence the way people attribute humanness-related traits to women. Across four experiments, 1000 participants (mostly from the United Kingdom and United States) were asked to evaluate women’s faces with or without heavy makeup. Consistent with the CDH, results showed that faces with makeup were rated as less human while using complementary indicators of dehumanization: They were perceived as possessing less humanness, less agency, less experience (Experiment 1), less competence, less warmth, and less morality (Experiments 2–4) than faces without makeup. This pattern of results was observed for faces of both models (Experiments 1–2) and ordinary women (Experiments 3–4). In Experiment 4, we manipulated the part of the face that wore makeup (eye makeup vs. lipstick) and found that faces with eye makeup were attributed the least amount of warmth and competence. A meta-analysis based on Experiments 2–4 confirmed the robustness of the findings, which were not moderated by either participant gender or sexual orientation. Whereas prior studies suggested that a focus on faces may serve as an antidote for objectification and related dehumanization, the present set of experiments indicates that this strategy might not always be effective.
Using a survey of college students in the US, this study examines whether the way students attribute responsibility is associated with perceived risk of sexual assaults and willingness to engage in preventive behaviours. We then link news media use to attributions of responsibility to examine whether media use is related with risk perceptions and preventive behaviours through the mediation of attributions of responsibility. Attributing responsibility to victims was correlated with perceiving a lower risk, while finding colleges responsible was related with perceiving a greater risk. Such relationships were moderated by gender, suggesting that attributions of responsibility might have different effects between male and female students. Attributions of responsibility were also associated with helping victims and taking protective measures. Finally, news media use was positively correlated with blaming victims, while negatively associated with finding perpetrators responsible, and these attributions of responsibility mediated the link between media use and the outcome variables. Clinical Impact Statement This article will assist educators and professionals in designing strategies for sexual assault prevention by explaining how attributing responsibility to victims, perpetrators, or colleges is related to college student's perceived risk and willingness to engage in preventive behaviours.
Background: Bisexual and mostly heterosexual women report higher substance use than exclusively heterosexual or lesbian women. In sexual minority men, sex-linked substance use (SLSU) can increase risk for substance use problems; equivalent research in women is lacking. Objectives: To test if sexual excitation and inhibition mediate the association between sexual minority status and women’s SLSU. Methods: We surveyed a convenience sample of 595 undergraduate women who identified as exclusively heterosexual (n = 499), mostly heterosexual (n = 59), or bisexual (n = 37). Participants reported on their last month use of alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs (e.g., cocaine) in sexual and non-sexual contexts, and symptoms of alcohol and non-alcohol drug use disorders (e.g., withdrawal symptoms). Drug use symptoms were collapsed across non-alcohol substances. We used structural equation modeling to test serial mediations of women’s SLSU and overall drug and alcohol use. Results: Bisexual and mostly heterosexual women reported higher cannabis use (η² = 0.030) and drug use disorder symptoms (η² = 0.050) than heterosexual women. Mostly heterosexual women’s SLSU was a stronger predictor of alcohol use (η² = 0.019) and binge drinking frequency (η² = 0.015) than for other orientation groups. Bisexual and mostly heterosexual women’s higher sexual excitation predicted their higher SLSU, which in turn predicted higher cannabis use frequency and drug use disorder symptoms. However, sexual inhibition failed to mediate either SLSU or overall substance use. Conclusion: These findings point to SLSU as a mechanism by which sexual minority women may experience disparities in substance use related harms.
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Women are objectified through overt sexualization and through a focus on physical appearance, but empirical research has not yet made this distinction. In three studies, we found evidence consistent with the hypothesis that although both forms of objectification strip women of their humanness, there are unique dehumanizing signatures associated with each. When women were objectified by a focus on their sexual features or functions (sexual objectification), they were perceived as lacking uniquely human attributes (i.e., animalistic dehumanization). Conversely, when women were objectified by an emphasis on their beauty or physical appearance (appearance-focused objectification), they were perceived as lacking human nature (i.e., mechanistic dehumanization). In Study 3, we also examined an outcome associated with women’s risk of harm and found that mechanistic dehumanization, in response to appearance-focused objectification, uniquely promoted the perception that a woman was less capable of feeling pain. Implications for objectification research are discussed.
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Introduction: Binge drinking (four or more drinks for women, five or more drinks for men on an occasion) accounts for more than half of the 88,000 U.S. deaths resulting from excessive drinking annually. Adult binge drinkers do so frequently and at high intensity; however, there are known disparities in binge drinking that are not well characterized by any single binge-drinking measure. A new measure of total annual binge drinks was used to assess these disparities at the state and national levels. Methods: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2015 data (analyzed in 2016) were used to estimate the prevalence, frequency, intensity, and total binge drinks among U.S. adults. Total annual binge drinks was calculated by multiplying annual binge-drinking episodes by binge-drinking intensity. Results: In 2015, a total of 17.1% of U.S. adults (37.4 million) reported an annual average of 53.1 binge-drinking episodes per binge drinker, at an average intensity of 7.0 drinks per binge episode, resulting in 17.5 billion total binge drinks, or 467.0 binge drinks per binge drinker. Although binge drinking was more common among young adults (aged 18-34 years), half of the total binge drinks were consumed by adults aged ≥35 years. Total binge drinks per binge drinker were substantially higher among those with lower educational levels and household incomes than among those with higher educational levels and household incomes. Conclusions: U.S. adult binge drinkers consume about 17.5 billion total binge drinks annually, or about 470 binge drinks/binge drinker. Monitoring total binge drinks can help characterize disparities in binge drinking and help plan and evaluate effective prevention strategies.
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Researchers have become increasingly interested in the saturation of popular Western culture by female hypersexualization. We provide data showing that men have more sexually aggressive intentions toward women who self-sexualize, and that self-sexualized women are vulnerable to sexual aggression if two qualifying conditions are met. Specifically, if perceivers view self-sexualized women as sexually open and lacking agency (i.e., the ability to influence one's environment), they harbor more sexually aggressive intentions and view women as easier to sexually victimize. In Experiment 1, male participants viewed a photograph of a woman whose self-sexualization was manipulated through revealing versus non-revealing clothing. In subsequent experiments, men and women (Experiment 2) and men only (Experiment 3) viewed a photograph of a woman dressed in non-revealing clothing but depicted as open or closed to sexual activity. Participants rated their perceptions of the woman's agency, then judged how vulnerable she was to sexual aggression (Experiments 1 and 2) or completed a sexually aggressive intentions measure (Experiment 3). Results indicated that both men and women perceived self-sexualized women as more vulnerable to sexual aggression because they assumed those women were highly sexually open and lacked agency. Perceptions of low agency also mediated the relationship between women's perceived sexual openness and men's intentions to sexually aggress. These effects persisted even when we described the self-sexualized woman as possessing highly agentic personality traits and controlled for individual differences related to sexual offending. The current work suggests that perceived agency and sexual openness may inform perpetrator decision-making and that cultural hypersexualization may facilitate sexual aggression. Aggr. Behav. 9999:1-15, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Dehumanization is the denial of full human potential to an individual or a social group. Although it is widely seen as a grave social ill, the psychological roots of dehumanization are not yet clear. In the present research, we examined the role of agency and communion. These dimensions are pivotal to how we perceive other people, and we hypothesized that they might be crucial to viewing people as fully human. In eight experiments, we manipulated agency or communion using either videos of interacting geometric shapes, or by manipulating static images of faces showing different degrees of agency and communion. Participants rated the degree of humanness of presented targets. Across the studies and in meta-analyses (N = 758 for agency and N = 776 for communion), agency but not communion had systematic effects on the ratings of humanness. Therefore, granting agency might limit dehumanization.
Background: Excessive drinking is commonplace at UK Universities. Individuals may misperceive how much they drink compared to others and are less likely to think that they will suffer adverse consequences. Young people often distance themselves and their friends from ‘problem drinkers’. Objectives: The aim of the study was to explore how student drinkers compared their own drinking behaviours to the drinking behaviours of others. Methods: An online survey was completed by 416 students aged 18-30 (68.5% female). They were asked ‘how do you think your drinking compares with other people like you?’ and ‘how do you think your behaviour when you drink compares with other people like you?’ Answers were subjected to thematic analysis. Results: The first main theme was about ‘identification as a ‘good’ drinker’. Participants suggested their own behaviour when drinking was similar to their sober behaviour. Further, they viewed themselves as more able to maintain a balance between staying in control and having fun while drinking. The second main theme was about ‘distancing from being a ‘bad’ drinker. Participants distanced themselves from negative prototypical drinkers, such compulsive or anti-social drinkers. They also attributed their own drinking behaviours to situational factors, but described other people as intentionally violent or aggressive. Conclusions/Importance: These findings may explain the failure of some health messages to change drinking behaviours. If drinkers perceive that their behaviour when they drink is better than other people’s then they may discount intervention messages. Targeting these biases could be incorporated into future interventions.
In this study the authors tested the acquired preparedness model of problem drinking, which holds that trait disinhibition, defined as neurotic extraversion by C. M. Patterson and J. P. Newman (1993), leads to the biased formation of positive over negative alcohol expectancies. Positive expectancies thus mediate disinhibition's influence on drinking. The authors also hypothesized that disinhibition moderates the expectancy-drinking relationship such that disinhibited individuals are more likely to act on their positive expectancies. In Study 1, positive expectancies both mediated and moderated the disinhibition-drinking, relationship. In Study 2, learning task results indicated that disinhibited individuals sought reward, even when passive avoidance of punishment was indicated. Study 2 also replicated Study 1 hypotheses for men but generally not for women.
Intersectionality theorists and researchers suggest the importance of examining unique stereotypes associated with intersecting group identities. We focus on the unique stereotypes of Black women in the United States related to sexuality and motherhood. In an online experimental study, 435 undergraduates from a Northeastern U.S. university were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions in which they viewed a photograph and read a description of a target young woman. The target’s race (Black vs. White) and pregnancy status (pregnant vs. no pregnancy information) were varied. A Black female target (pregnant or not) was perceived more negatively on items related to historically rooted societal stereotypes about sexual activity, sexual risk, motherhood status, and socioeconomic status than was a White female target, but there were no differences on items unrelated to societal stereotypes. A Black target described as pregnant was also perceived as more likely to be a single mother and to need public assistance than was a White target described as pregnant. Current findings, along with evidence that societal stereotypes have damaging effects, underscore the importance of diversifying images of Black women and increasing awareness of how stereotypes affect perceptions of Black women. Findings also highlight the value of research employing intersectionality to understand stereotypes.