Publication Date



The overt objectification and dehumanization of Black people has a long history throughout the Western world. However, few researchers have explored whether such perceptions still persist implicitly and whether Black women are sexually objectified at an interpersonal level. We sought to address this gap by exploring whether Black women are sexually objectified to a greater extent than White women and whether target sexualization exacerbates this effect. In Study 1, using eye-tracking technology (N = 38), we provide evidence that individuals attend more often, and for longer durations, to the sexual body parts of Black women compared to White women, particularly when presented in a sexualized manner. In Studies 2a (N = 120) and 2b (N = 131), we demonstrated that Black women are implicitly associated with both animals and objects to a greater degree than White women with a Go/No-Go Association Task. We discuss the implications of such dehumanizing treatment of Black people and Black women in U.S. society. We hope that this evidence will increase awareness that objectification can happen outside the realm of conscious thought and that related interventions ought to include an ethnicity-specific component. Additional online materials for this article, including online slides for instructors who want to use this article for teaching, are available on PWQ's website at


School of Psychology

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access