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quinta-feira, 26 de março de 2009

Susan Fiske responde a Ruth de Aquino

Claro que fui ouvir os pesquisadores enxovalhados. A primeira contatada e a primeira a responder foi Susan Fiske, co-autora sobre o estudo de como homens veem o corpo das mulheres:
She gets my research completely wrong. There is no point talking to people like that. They are not open to persuasion. For your effort in conveying this to me, I attach an accurate lay language summary of our work. Thanks for your interest.
[Ela entendeu minha pesquisa de modo completamente errado. Não há razão para falar com pessoas assim. Elas não estão abertas ao convencimento. Em retribuição a me alertar sobre isso, envio em anexo um resumo acurado em linguagem leiga de nosso trabalho. Obrigada pelo interesse.]
Abaixo a reprodução do texto enviado:
From Subjects to Objects: Sexist Attitudes and Neural Responses to Sexualized Targets

Mina Cikara, Princeton University
Jennifer L. Eberhardt, Stanford University
Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University

When do we treat other people as tools? Our overarching question for this program of research is how people can objectify another person, treating the person instrumentally, as in effect a tool. As a first step in this line of research, we examine the impact of sexual instrumentality and sexist attitudes on memory for and neural responses to passively viewed images of men and women, sexualized and fully clothed. We use questionnaire, memory, and fMRI methods.

Our first hypothesis was that the pictured people’s gender and level of dress, as a manipulation of instrumentality, should influence memory. Specifically, if sexualized women serve some potentially instrumental function, they should be better recognized than the other three kinds of images. And, indeed, heterosexual men, in a surprise memory test, were significantly better at recognizing bikini-clad female bodies (with the heads removed), than they were at recognizing any of the other three types of images or any kind of faces.

Second, some objects are mentally represented not only as what they are useful for, but how they are physically used. We predicted that viewing sexualized female images would activate brain regions that have previously been identified as responding more to action-associated objects, like tools, as compared to other sorts of non-human entities. We were particularly interested to see if any regions that responded more to sexualized women as compared to the other three types of images would correlate with participants’ ability to remember sexualized female images. As predicted, neuroimaging data demonstrated that memory for sexualized women’s bodies correlated with activation areas previously associated with tool-use or manipulable objects (premotor cortex, posterior middle temporal gyrus). That is, greater activity in these premotor areas predicted better recognition. We did not observe this memory-motor relationship for other types of images.

Finally, we predicted that if in fact sexualized women were seen more like instruments, then looking at them should affect activity in areas associated with social cognition. In particular, we focused on areas implicated in people considering other people’s thoughts and feelings, a phenomenon termed mentalizing. Because participants with high hostile sexism scores have previously been shown to see women as less human, we predicted that hostile sexists might especially neglect the minds of sexualized women. As predicted, hostile sexism predicted less activation of otherwise reliable social cognition networks (mPFC, posterior cingulate, and bilateral temporal poles) in response to looking at bikini-clad women. This implicates more hostile attitudes in predicting deactivation of the mentalizing network, consistent with viewing sexualized women as less human.

Although all these findings require follow-up, they fit other work showing that people can treat others as less than fully human, depending on their goals for engaging (or not engaging) them.

Paper given at AAAS meetings Feb. 15, 2009
Destaco o trecho final: "Although all these findings require follow-up, they fit other work showing that people can treat others as less than fully human, depending on their goals for engaging (or not engaging) them" - os autores claramente dizem que há necessidade de mais estudos, e que os resultados são consistentes com resultados anteriores. Nada de enxurradas de conclusões, nada de besteirol, nada de "criatividade" (entendendo-se isso por conclusões precipitadas e não embasadas nos dados). É um trabalho sério e os autores estão plenamente cientes das limitações, mas também estão alertas para as implicações dos achados - ao mesmo tempo que mostram toda a construção do raciocínio e como os dados se encaixam nesse panorama.

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