Sarah Gervais

Associate Professor Psychology

Lab site: Subtle prejudice lab


Dr. Gervais has a dual PhD in Psychology and Women's Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. She is an Associate Professor in the Social and Cognitive Psychology and the Law-Psychology programs. Broadly speaking, her research focuses on prejudice and violence. Examining phenomenon like objectification, sexual harassment, and relationship aggression, Dr. Gervais has found that discriminatory and aggressive acts are often more subtle and nuanced than previously thought, but they still have negative social and legal consequences for recipients. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and has been published in outlets such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Social Issues. Dr. Gervais has been the recipient of the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize (APA Div. 9) and the Georgia Babladelis Best Paper Award (APA Div. 35). She has also won the Distinguished Teaching Award and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is currently an associate editor at Psychology of Women Quarterly.


Dr. Gervais teaches courses in social cognition, applied social psychology, psychology of gender, and social psychology.

Representative Publications
  • Gervais, S. J., Holland, A., & Dodd, M. (in press). My eyes are up here: The nature of the objectifying gaze toward women. Sex Roles.
  • Gervais, S. J., DiLillo, D. & McChargue, D. (in press). Understanding the link between men’s alcohol use and sexual violence: The mediating role of sexual objectification. Psychology of Violence.
  • Davidson, M. M., & Gervais, S. J. (in press). Violence against women through the lens of objectification theory. Violence Against Women.
  • Davidson, M. M., Lozano, N., Cole, B., & Gervais, S. J. (in press). Associations between women’s experiences of sexual violence and forgiveness. Violence and Victims.
  • Gervais, S. J. (Ed.). (2013). Objectification and (De)Humanization. New York, NY: Springer.
  • Gervais, S. J., Bernard, P., Klein, O., & Allen, J. (2013). Toward a unified theory of objectification and dehumanization. In S. J. Gervais (Ed.), Objectification and (De)Humanization (pp. 1-24)New York, NY: Springer.
  • Gervais, S. J. & Davidson, M. (2013). Objectification among college women in the context of intimate partner violence. Violence and Victims, 28, 36-49. doi: 10.1891/0886-6708.28.1.36.
  • Gervais, S. J. & Hoffman, L. (2013). Just think about it: Mindfulness, sexism, and prejudice toward feminists. Sex Roles, 68, 283-295.doi: 10.1007/s11199-012-0241-4.
  • Allen, J., Gervais, S. J., & Smith, J. (2013). Sit big to eat big: The interaction of body posture and body concern on restrained eating. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37, 325-336. doi:10.1177/0361684313476477.
  • Wiener, R., Gervais, S. J., Allen, J., & Marquez, A. (2013). In the eye of the beholder: Effects of perspective and sexual objectification on harassment judgments. Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law, 19, 206-221doi: 10.1037/a0028497.
  • Bernard, P., Gervais, S. J., Allen, J., & Klein, O. (2013). Perceptual determinants are critical, but they don’t explain everything: A response to Tarr. Psychological Science, 24, 1071-1073. doi: 10.1177/0956797612474672. 
  • Davidson, M. M, Gervais, S. J., Canivez, G. L., & Cole, B. P. (2013). A psychometric examination of the Interpersonal Sexual Objectification Scale among college men. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 239-250. doi: 10.1037/a0032075.
  • Cole, B., Davidson, M. M., & Gervais, S. J. (2013). Body surveillance and body shame in college men: Are men who self-objectify less hopeful? Sex Roles, 69, 29-41. doi: 10.1007/s11199-013-0282.
  • Hillard, A., Ryan, C. & Gervais, S. J. (2013). Reactions to the implicit association test as an educational tool: A mixed methods study. Social Psychology of Education, 16, 495-516. doi:10.1007/s11218-013-9219-5.
  • Gervais, S. J., Vescio, T. K., & Allen, J. (2012).  When are people interchangeable sexual objects? The effect of gender and body type on sexual fungibility. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 499-513. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2010.02016.x 
  • Gervais, S. J., Guinote, A., Allen, J. & Slabu, L. (2012). Power increases situated creativity. Social Influence. doi: 10.1080/15534510.2012.742457.
  • Gervais, S. J., Vescio, T. K., Förster, J., Maass, A., & Suitner, C.  (2012).  Seeing women as objects: The sexual body part recognition bias. European Journal of Social Psychology, 42, 743-753doi: 10.1002/ejsp.1890.
  • Gervais, S. J. & Vescio, T. K.  (2012).  The effect of patronizing behavior and control on men and women’s performance in stereotypically masculine domains. Sex Roles, 66, 479-491doi:10.1007/s11199-011-0115-1.
  • Bernard, P., Gervais, S. J., Allen, J., Campomizzi, S. & Klein, O. (2012). Integrating sexual objectification with object versus person recognition: The sexualized body-inversion hypothesis. Psychological Science, 23, 469-471doi: 10.1177/0956797611434748.
  • Tyler, K., Gervais, S. J. & Davidson, M. M (2012). The relationship between of victimization and substance use among homeless and runaway female adolescents. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28, 474-493. doi: 10.1177/0886260512455517.
  • Allen, J. & Gervais, S. J. (2012). The drive to be sexy: Prejudice and core motivations in women’s self-sexualization. In D. W. Russell and C. A. Russell (Eds.), Psychology of Prejudice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Contemporary Issues.  Hauppauge, NY:  Nova Science Publishers.  
  • Gervais, S. J. Vescio, T. K., & Allen, J. (2011).  When what you see is what you get:  The consequences of the objectifying gaze for women and men.  Psychology of Women Quarterly, 35, 5-17. doi: 10.1177/0361684310386121. 
  • Gervais, S. J. & Hillard, A. (2011). A role congruity perspective on prejudice toward Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Analysis of Public Policy and Social Issues, 11, 221-240. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01263.x. 
  • Gervais, S. J., Hillard, A. & Vescio, T. K.  (2010).  Confronting sexism: The role of relationship orientation and gender.  Sex Roles, 63, 463-474. doi: 10.1007/s11199-010-9838-7.
  • Gervais, S. J.  (2010).  A social psychological perspective of disaiblity prejudice.  In R. Wiener (Ed.), Disability and Age Discrimination: Perspectives in Law and Psychology, New York, NY: Springer.
  • Swim, J. K., Gervais, S. J., Pearson, N. & Stangor, S. J.  (2009).  Managing the message:  Using social influence and attitude change strategies to confront interpersonal discrimination.  In F. Butera (Ed.), Coping With Minority Status:  Responses to Exclusion and Inclusion.  Cambridge, UK:  Cambridge University Press.
  • Vescio, T. K., Gervais, S. J., Heipheitz, L., & Bloodhart, B. (2009).The stereotypic behaviors of the powerful and their effect on the relatively powerless.  Handbook of Prejudice.  New York, NY:  Psychology Press.  
  • Gervais, S. J. & Vescio, T. K. (2007a). Social psychology. In the Worldbook Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: Worldbook Inc.
  • Gervais, S. J. & Vescio, T. K.  (2007b).  The origins and consequences of subtle sexism. In A. M. Columbus (Ed.), Advances in Psychology Research (pp. 137-166). Hauppauge, NY:  Nova Science Publishers. 
  • Vescio, T. K., Gervais, S. J., Heidenreich, S., & Snyder, M. (2006). The effects of prejudice level and social influence strategy on stereotypic responding to racial outgroups. European Journal of Social Psychology, 36, 435-450.
  • Vescio, T. K., Gervais, S. J., & Snyder, M., Hoover, A.  (2005). Power and the creation of patronizing environments: The stereotype-based behaviors of the powerful and their effects on female performance in masculine domains. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology88, 658-672.

Research Funding Sources

National Science Foundation. Objectification, Affective Forecasting, and Sexual Harassment (SES-1122683).