He throws like a girl (but only when he’s sad): emotion affects sex-decoding of biological motion displays

Johnson, K.L., McKay, L.S. and Pollick, F.E. (2011) He throws like a girl (but only when he’s sad): emotion affects sex-decoding of biological motion displays. Cognition, 119(2), pp. 265-280. (doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2011.01.016)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2011.01.016


Gender stereotypes have been implicated in sex-typed perceptions of facial emotion. Such interpretations were recently called into question because facial cues of emotion are confounded with sexually dimorphic facial cues. Here we examine the role of visual cues and gender stereotypes in perceptions of biological motion displays, thus overcoming the morphological confounding inherent in facial displays. In four studies, participants' judgments revealed gender stereotyping. Observers accurately perceived emotion from biological motion displays (Study 1), and this affected sex categorizations. Angry displays were overwhelmingly judged to be men; sad displays were judged to be women (Studies 2-4). Moreover, this pattern remained strong when stimuli were equated for velocity (Study 3). We argue that these results were obtained because perceivers applied gender stereotypes of emotion to infer sex category (Study 4). Implications for both vision sciences and social psychology are discussed.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pollick, Professor Frank
Authors: Johnson, K.L., McKay, L.S., and Pollick, F.E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Cognition
Published Online:23 February 2011

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