Sexual objectification beyond the metaphor: neural and behavioral responses towards objectified human targets
Dr. Carlotta Cogoni (Instituto de Biofísica e Engenharia Biomédica, FCUL, Lisboa, Portugal)
Abstract: The sexual assault and harassment of women are at the center of the current public debate. Both the “#metoo” and “#timesup” movements have changed the public agenda and increased the necessity to understand why sexual harassment remains such a prevalent problem. It has been theorized that among other factors, a dampening of the perpetrator’s empathic feelings toward the victim of the violence drives the tendency to act violently. In this presentation, we will shed lights on neural and behavioral process that might explain why women are still victims of sexual harassment. Specifically, studies on empathic responses toward human and objects will be presented. Compelling evidence on both empathy for social pain and empathy for affective touch will be discussed to understand whether those empathic responses are modulated by the target’s objectification.