The Brain Sees Men as People & Women as Body Parts – What’s up with that?

Leslie Carol Botha: I think that the brain has been retrained to see men and women differently. I agree with the bullet points below. Men are looking for a mate – whether long term or for a one night lay. In fact, they use two heads to do that…sorry could not resist. But, women have become so image conscious, we are always comparing ourselves to each other or in to mannequins or airbrushed models in print and broadcast media. Then again, one has to wonder – who the researchers were – men or women!

What are you staring at? Scientists reveal how our brain sees men as people, but women as body parts (and it’s not just men who do it)

  • Study finds both genders process images of men and women differently
  • Scientists believe men are looking for a mate, while women are comparing themselves

United Kingdom
By Mark Prigg
03:39 EST, 26 July 2012

We really do see men and women differently, scientists have revealed.

A new study has found that our brains actually process images differently depending on which gender we are looking at – regardless of whether we  are men or women.

The team behind the research say it could help explain why women are often the subject of sexual objectification.

The research, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found in a series of experiments that participants processed images of men and women in very different ways.

When casting our eyes upon an object, our brains either perceive it in its entirety or as a collection of its parts.

When presented with images of men, people tended to rely more on ‘global’ cognitive processing, the mental method in which a person is perceived as a whole.

Meanwhile, images of women were more often the subject of ‘local’ cognitive processing, or the objectifying perception of something as an assemblage of its various parts.

The team say the distinction is rather like the way we view pieces of a jigsaw compared to how we view the completes image.

The study is the first to link such cognitive processes to objectification theory, said Sarah Gervais, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the study’s lead author.

‘Local processing underlies the way we think about objects: houses, cars and so on,’ she said.

‘But global processing should prevent us from that when it comes to people.

‘We don’t break people down to their parts – except when it comes to women, which is really striking. Women were perceived in the same ways that objects are viewed.’

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.