Specifics of the Perception of Female Corporality by Women Who Resorted to the Services of Aesthetic Surgery



Objectives. The objectives were to study the specifics of cognitive empathy in women with aesthetic surgery towards women with different types of corporality. Background. Body modification technologies are becoming more common and feasible, creating variety of types of female corporality, which demand scientific research and understanding. In the article, appearance is understood as text, expressing personal values, goals and meanings within the framework of a certain semiotic system. Study design. The study examined specifics of cognitive empathy, influence of body image on the quality of life, level of perfectionism, and hierarchy of values. The presence of intergroup differences was established by means of Mann-Whitney criterion and chi-squared Pearson statistic. Participants. 25 women, who underwent aesthetic surgery (27 ± 4,6 years of age) and 25 women who did not change their appearance surgically (25 ± 4,5 years of age). Measurements. The author’s “Appearance as a Statement” method, questionnaires “The influence of body image on the quality of life” by T.F. Cash, “The Multidimensional Scale of Perfec¬tionism” by P. Hewitt and G. Flett, and “Value Orientations” by O.I. Motkova and T.A. Ogneva. Results. It is shown that women with aesthetic surgeries show significantly lower cognitive empathy towards owners of all types of corporality, except for their own type. On the contrary, women who did not change their appearance surgically show high cognitive empathy towards all variants of unconventional corporality (anorexia, overweight, bodybuilding, extreme bodily modifications), except for the female bodies modified by aesthetic surgery. Conclusions. The differences found in the women’s level of cognitive empathy towards owners of different types of corporality depend on their own corporality type.

General Information

Keywords: cognitive empathy, interpersonal cognition, perception of appearance, female corporality, discursive construction of corporality, consumer type of culture, “showcase” corporality, discourse of glamour, aesthetic surgery

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/sps.2020110210

Acknowledgements. The authors would like to thank PhD G.A. Laisheva for participating in the expert evalu¬ation of the research results.

For citation: Tsygankova P.V., Tsameryan L.R. Specifics of the Perception of Female Corporality by Women Who Resorted to the Services of Aesthetic Surgery . Sotsial'naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo = Social Psychology and Society, 2020. Vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 162–179. DOI: 10.17759/sps.2020110210. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)



  1. Baranskaya L.T. Faktory riska rasstroistv lichnostnoi adaptatsii u patsientov esteticheskoi khirurgii. Avtopef. diss. doktor psikhol. nauk. [Risk Factors for Personal Adaptation Disorders of Aesthetic Surgery Patients. Dr. Sc. (Psychology) Thesis]. Moscow, 2009. 29 p.
  2. Baranskaya L.T., Tkachenko A.E., Tataurova S.S. Adaptatsiya metodiki issledovaniya obrazatela v klinicheskoi psikhologii [Adaptation of the Body Image Research Method in Clinical Psychology]. Obrazovanie i nauka [Education and science], 2008, no. 3, pp. 63— 69. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  3. Barichko Ya.B. Tri tipa telesnosti kul’tury [Three Types of Culture’s Corporality]. Chelyabinskii gumanitarii [Chelyabinsk Humanities], 2010, no. 3(12), pp. 97—103. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  4. Belopol’skaya N.L., Belopol’skii V.I., Sharifova E.M., Avdoshenko K.E. Litsevoi vozrast i motivatsiya omolozheniya litsa u zhenshchin v esteticheskoi khirurgii [Facial Age and Women’s Motivation for Facial Rejuvenation in Aesthetic Surgery]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie [Knowledge.Understanding. Skill], 2012, no. 2, pp. 214—221. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  5. Bugueva N.A. Tekhniki transformatsii chelovecheskogo tela kak odin iz sposobov sotsializatsii telesnosti [Human Body Transformation Techniques as One of the Corporality Socialization Ways]. Vestnik Chelyabinskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of Chelyabinsk state University], 2011, no. 18 (233), pp. 60—64. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  6. Budarina K.A. Telo: opytistoriko-kul’turnoieks pozitsii [Body: Experience of Historical and Cultural Exposure]. Osnovy ekonomiki, upravleniya i prava [ Basis of economics, management and law], 2014, no. 1(13), pp. 84—88. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  7. Gracheva I.I. Adaptatsiya metodiki «Mnogomernaya shkala perfektsionizma» P. Kh’yuittai G. Fletta [Adaptation of the «Multidimensional Scale of Perfectionism»Method by P. Hewitt and G. Flett]. Psikhologicheskii zhurnal [Psychological journal], 2006, no. 6, pp. 73—80. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  8. Dementii L.I., Varlashkina E.A. Sotsial’no-psikhologicheskii portret patsientok plasticheskoi khirurgii [Socio-psychological Portrait of Plastic Surgery Patients]. Sibirskii psikhologicheskii zhurnal [Siberian psychological journal], 2010, no. 36, pp. 90—94. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  9. Karyagina T.D. Jevoljucija ponjatija «jempatija» v psihologii. Diss. kand. psikhol. nauk. [Evolution of the concept of «empathy» in psychology. PhD (Psychology) diss.]. Moscow, 2013. 175 p.
  10. Kilborn B. Ischezayushchie lyudi: styd i vneshnii oblik [Disappearing Persons: Shame and Appearance]. In Spirkina E.A. (eds.). Moscow: Kogito-Centr, 2017. 269 p. (In Russ.).
  11. Labunskaya V.A. «Vidimyi chelovek» kak sotsial’no-psikhologicheskii fenomen [«Visible Man» as a Socio-psychological Phenomenon]. Sotsial’naya psikhologiya i obshchestvo [ Social psychology and society], 2010, no. 1, pp. 26—37. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  12. Lapina Yu. Telo, eda, seks i trevoga. Chto bespokoit sovremennuyu zhenshchinu. Issledovanie klinicheskogo psikhologa [Body, Food, Sex and Anxiety. What Worries a Modern Woman. A Research of a Clinical Psychologist]. Moscow: Publ. Al’pina non-fikshn, 2018. 229 p.
  13. Litvinova D.A., Ostroukhova P.V. Diskursivnoe regulirovanie zhenskoi telesnosti v sotsial’nykh setyakh: mezhdu khudoboi i anoreksiei [Discursive Regulation of Female Corporeality in Social media: between Thinness and Anorexia]. Zhurnal issledovanii sotsial’noi politiki [Journal for the study of social policy], 2015, no. 13 (1), pp. 33—48. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  14. Motkov O.I., Ogneva T.A. Metodika «Tsennostnye orientatsii» [Elektronnyi resurs] [The «Value Orientations» Method]. URL: http://www.psychology-online.net/articles/ doc-1128.html (Accessed 16.06.2019.)
  15. Ramsi N., Kharkort D. Psikhologiya vneshnosti [The Psychology of Appearance]. In Fedorov A.P. (eds.). Saint-Petersburg: Piter, 2009. 256 p. (In Russ.).
  16. Slastenina V.V. Sotsial’no-psikhologicheskie kharakteristiki zhenshchin, pribegayushchikh k uslugam esteticheskoi khirurgii [Socio-psychological Characteristics of Women Resorting to the Services of Aesthetic Surgery]. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of Tomsk state university], 2007, no. 303, pp. 205— 208. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  17. Sokolova E.T. Nartsissizm kak klinicheskii i sotsiokul’turnyi fenomen [Narcissism as a Clinical and Sociocultural Phenomenon]. Voprosy psikhologii [Psychology questions], 2009, no. 1, pp. 67—80. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  18. Tkachenko A.E., Baranskaya L.T., Leonov A.G. Kliniko-psikhologicheskaya kharakteristika patsientov klinik esteticheskoi khirurgii [Clinical and Psychological Characteristics of Patients of Aesthetic Surgery Clinics]. Annaly plasticheskoi, rekonstruktivnoi i esteticheskoi khirurgii [ Annals of plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery], 2003, no. 2, pp. 63—69. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  19. Fetisova T.A. M.D. Rakhmaninova. Diskurs glamura kak znakovaya sistema sotsial’noi real’nosti [M.D. Rachmaninova. The Discourse of Glamour as a Semiotics System of Social Reality]. Vestnik kul’turologii [ Bulletin of cultural studies], 2017, no. 2 (81), pp. 200—203. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.).
  20. Dayan S., Clark K., Ho A.A. Altering First Impressions After Facial Plastic Surgery. Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, 2004. Vol. 28 (5). pp. 301—306. DOI:10.1007/s00266-004-1017-1
  21. Kosowski T.R., McCarthy C., Reavey P.L., Scott A.M., Wilkins E.G., Cano S.J., Klassen A.F., Carr N., Cordeiro P.G., Pusic A.L. A Systematic Review of Patient- Reported Outcome Measures after Facial Cosmetic Surgery and/or Nonsurgical Facial Rejuvenation. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2009. Vol. 123 (6), pp. 1819—1827. DOI:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181a3f361
  22. Rankin M., Borah G.L. Perceived Functional Impact of Abnormal Facial Appearance. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2003. Vol. 111 (7). pp. 2140—2146. DOI:10.1097/01. PRS.0000060105.63335.0C
  23. Sarwer D.B., Magee L., Clark V. Physical appearance and cosmetic medDcal treatments: physiological and socio-cultural influences. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 2003. Vol. 2 (1), pp. 29—39. DOI:10.1111/j.1473-2130.2003.00003.x


Information About the Authors

Polina V. Tsygankova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor of the Department of Clinical Psychology, Psychological-Social Faculty, Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University (RNRMU), Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6271-2076, e-mail: polina_tsy@mail.ru

Lusine R. Tsameryan, Medical Psychologist, Crisis-Psychiatric Department, City Clinical Hospital No. 20 named after A.K. Eramishantsev, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5238-7433, e-mail: lusine_cameryan@rambler.ru



Total: 787
Previous month: 12
Current month: 3


Total: 574
Previous month: 10
Current month: 2