Hello and welcome to the Big Five podcast from Northumbria psychology department. My name is Dr. Genavee Brown and I'll be your guide to the minds of psychology students, alumni and researchers at Northumbria University. I'm a lecturer and social psychology researcher in the psychology department. Each week on this podcast I'll speak to a guest who is either a student alumni or researcher in the Northumbria psychology department. By asking them five big questions, we'll learn about their time studying psychology and hopefully learn some big facts about human behavior and experience. This month we'll be discussing several opportunities for funded PhD studentships, and the researchers who will be supervising these PhDs will come tell us about their work and how the PhD will extend their research. Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to Dr. Lee Shepherd Hello Lee. Lee is a senior lecturer in the psychology department and a social psychologist who studies the role of emotions in group processes and wellbeing. Lee also studies the emotional responses to experiences of discrimination. Lee and I, along with our colleague, Dr. Jenny Patterson will be co supervising a PhD about the causes and consequences of online misogyny. Solely Can you tell us a little bit about your work? And how you got interested in it? And what are some of the theories behind it? And why is it so important to you? Okay,
so I've been doing a lot of work in recent years on sexual objectification, and how people respond to incidents of sexual objectification. I kind of get into this work a little bit by accident, in that I'd always done work on emotions and group processes, but never in this specific area. And then one of my undergraduates came to me and said, I really want to do a project looking at objectification, I thought, give it a go and see, look into the area and see what it's like, and sort of got started from there. So from there, we sort of developed this research area a lot more looking at different research studies. It's kind of a really interesting research area from sort of different reasons. Once a huge reason is this is sort of a time of massive social change and gender discrimination, was not so long ago that people sort of tolerated sexual gratification. So why can't the carpet as a bar do to sort of large scale social movements and high profile legal cases, this is kind of topic which is becoming more and more sort of discussed in society, and a really important topic to discuss as well. So one thing society started to think about is how we solve consider instances of sexual objectification, how we sort of respond to them, and how we were sport support victims as well. And this is what sort of, we'll be looking at within this research. A lot of the additional research in this area has sort of focused on objectification theory, which I've looked at how people experience objectification, either in sort of their everyday lives, or by the media, and how this caused them to internalize that process, and to start sort of objectify themselves and evaluate themselves based on their physical appearance, and how it can lead to sort of negative consequences such as sort of body shape, body anxiety, and sort of mental health problems. However, in this research, what we've tried to do is to look at a slightly different approach. Rather than focusing on how people internalize it, we've tried to sort of look at different ways that people can respond to sexual objectification. Because we're all incredibly diverse, we all respond to things in a very different way. And that's what we really wanted to explore in this research. So I want to focus on what the different ways people respond to objectification for what might actually call different responses to objectification as well.
Very interesting. So looking at the individual factors that make people respond in certain ways, but also the the variables around objectification that might have those different responses.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
So what are some of the methodologies that you use to study this topic?
The different ways you can do this, depending on what sort of you're looking at. So classic measures of sort of objectification ask people to rate the extent to which to experience objectification over a series of months. This is sort of done when you're looking at sort of the prolonged effects of objectification, objectification. So what consequences it can have in the long term. So we've done some research looking at that, and looking at how that relates to well being, but we're also looking at other ways as well. So what we're really interested in is how people respond to objectification within a specific situation, rather than across numerous situations. And the different ways we can try and tap into that. So some studies, we've got people to imagine themselves in a particular situation and ask them how they fitted reacted in that situation. So those sorts of those are really quite useful, because you could have a lot of control over what happens in that situation. But the the downside of it is that people may not be able to manage itself very closely that situation or they may not match their sort of real life experience specially to looking at different particular context such as work, so you can sort of use other studies alongside those studies as well to help strengthen the research. So you might get people to sort of describe an instance of objectification of experience from the past, and to sort of look at how they felt in that situation. But how they responded to that, and know what sort of method it's perfect. Every method has sort of its flaws, as best used in some situations more than others. But for combining all those methods, you get a really nice picture, what's happening in sort of the research area, sometimes sort of the whole is sort of greater than sum of its parts.
So it sounds like you've done quite a few studies on this topic, what's one of the most interesting or surprising things that you've found based on based on this body of work?
So what we're looking at is how different motions produce different responses. This is sort of slightly, in contrast to objectification theory is very much focuses on that internalization of the process. So what we're trying to sort of show that this objectification theory is important as well supported, there's only sort of one half of the picture, we just look at these other responses, as well, I did across a variety of studies, which show that there's a variety of other responses that people are likely to undertake, and a variety of different emotions that I like to take those responses. So people, they sort of take active response, and they sort of report the action or confront the perpetrator or do something like that. Alternatively, they sort of take blame themselves or take a self blame response, where they may sort of think that they've done something to put themselves in that situation. So maybe they should address differently and they should avoid those situations. We've looked at different emotions by predict those different responses to feeling anger or disgust may motivate people to take action or confront the perpetrator report them, or feeling shame may motivate them to take a more self blame response to take maybe something that I've done wrong, importantly, shown as well that other emotions may take more self larger actions. So if people still feel anger towards the way that their group has been treated, and objectified, they're much more likely to take a sort of collective response of protests or take some form of collective action against sort of a perpetrator group. So what we really tried to show what we found across a variety of studies, is this sort of internalization process may occur. But there's lots of other different processes that occur as well. A lot of other the role of motion is crucial to understanding how people respond to these actions.
Yeah, I'm kind of curious about that. What is the most common emotion that people experience? Or do you just see a wide range of emotions? Is there one that sticks out to you,
so we can better serve a sort of key list of emotion, it's always better to have anger, disgust, shame, pride, I've looked at sort of anxiety as well, and a couple of studies and sort of anger and disgust, quite sort of dominant emotions, we do feel other emotions as well. So things like sort of pride is paired in some situations, I see we get also get a shame as well, I've found that anger is sort of anxiety. So it is predictive in some areas, but not others. So some work based context for that anxiety towards experiencing these things has led to some specific actions. But yeah, the variety different motions can be felt in such situations.
Yeah, I can see how context would play a huge role in that. Because if you're face to face with the person who's objectifying you, that's very different than having someone objective objective. Are you aligned, for example, where maybe have a bit of distance from them?
Yeah, I think online is a really interesting area. So I think we're sort of going into a little bit of research at the moment as well. But most of these, if you've done it looked at sort of general objectification, we've got a couple of studies looking at it in the workplace, I think online is a really important area to look at in the future.
Speaking of that, let's just go ahead and talk about PhD. So Leah and I are going to hopefully be coped supervising a PhD starting in October. And we would like to look at the causes and consequences of misogyny online. So Lee, would you like to say a bit more about this idea we've had for this project?
So yeah, I think as vetted online education is really important, but also there's other areas as well. So I think looking at different online misogyny could be really, really important. We show that there's a lot of emotions, like predict sexual objectification, how people respond to that, that actually is likely to be sort of similarities with other forms of gender discrimination online. I think that could be a really, really important area, especially in the future, where more and more of a life are sort of coming online. Understanding how we sort of cope with such instances and what we could do to help people through touch intercedes is a really important research area is taken future.
Yeah, absolutely. I'm really excited to get that project started. If anyone is interested in learning more about that project, I will have a link to the advertisement in the show notes. And those applications are due February 18. So one last question for you, Lee. What do you think is the impact of this kind of work?
So I've got impact in numerous different ways. I think There's two general sort of themes. One is sort of supporting victims a purse, first way to sort of get a conversation across about this is important area to think about. And having that conversation is so important. By discussing these two, they get people to think about these things, people may think about the actions that they've undertaken, or they've received, or they've witnessed, or reconsider how they actually perceive those things. But also myself find ways to support victims in other ways as well. For example, we find that anger promotes sort of confronting the perpetrator reporting the perpetrator, but stereotypically traditionally, good is an emotion associated with more masculine traits. And so there might be this idea that, Oh, we shouldn't feel anger, because it doesn't really suit us. But actually, what we're showing the research is anger is a prominent emotion in such situations. It's not just prominent, but it's appropriate and illegitimate. When somebody has sort of done something to dehumanize you regard to some form of sexual object. That's all we want to do is say, actually, this is okay to fill these things that ask you to take action against these things, it's not something you should have to solve either something that most people should feel angry about, and most people should feel able to actually talk about it with somebody. So hopefully, this research will help to support victims in that way. But hopefully, in a second, the other side of the coin, it might sort of get some potential perpetrators of such actions, thinking as well, it is often a view that sort of sex objectifying actions may be viewed as sort of a bit of fun, or it's something that you're just it's just part being sort of masculine directly, what our research shows that actually, these actions have negative emotional consequences. It's really important to sort of consider these emotional consequences before undertaking these actions or when thinking about these actions. So hopefully, from that side of myself, get people to reconsider their own behavior as well.
Yeah. Consider the gravity of of the consequences of that kind of behavior. Yeah, absolutely. Well, this has been so interesting. I've loved learning more about your research. Thank you so much, Lee, where can people find you online?
You'll be able to find me via the Northumbria web pages for the easiest place to get me.
All right. I'll add that in the show notes as well as the link to the application for our PhD. This concludes our three episode series on PhD opportunities in the department. You can find all of those opportunities on our blog, the dates to submit those applications by our February 18 2020 to next month in honor of LGBTQ history month, we'll have two special guests on to talk about their research with LGBTQ participants. If you'd like to learn more about Northumbria psychology, you can check out our psychology department blog at Northumbria P S Y. You'll also find all the other PhD projects that we are currently advertising there. You can also follow us on Twitter at Northumbria P S Y. If you want you can follow me on Twitter at Brown G in a v if you'd like to be interviewed on the podcast or know someone who would please email me at Genavee firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, if you like the podcast, make sure to subscribe to our podcast on your listening app and give us a review and rating. I hope you've learned something on this voyage into the mind. Take care. Until next time