The Neuropsychology of Self-Objectification

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According to the objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) girls and women are thought to adopt a self-objectified view of themselves as objects to be evaluated on the basis of their appearance. More, this experience is proposed to have a direct link with the health and well being of female subjects. The paper analyzes and discusses the objectification theory within the context of recent research on memory and spatial cognition. On one side, it describes self-objectification as a specific cognitive process: a woman internalizes an objectified self image, when she uses an allocentric frame of reference (observer mode) to remember events in which she evaluates herself based upon bodily appearance. On the other side it directly connects the objectification theory with the Allocentric Lock Hypothesis (Riva, 2012), suggesting that eating disorders have as antecedent an allocentric (objective, from outside) negative image schema of the body that is no more updated by egocentric sensory inputs from perception. Both the similarities between the allocentric lock and the out-of-body experience and a review of the recent studies supporting this claim are also presented and discussed.

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