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Nicolas Davidenko, Jonathan Winawer, Nathan Witthoft; Gender aftereffects in the perception of silhouetted face profiles. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):1068. doi: 10.1167/6.6.1068.
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Recent studies have shown figural aftereffects in the perception of faces, including gender, race, and identity aftereffects (e.g., Leopold et al., 2001; Webster et al., 2004; Witthoft & Winawer, 2005). In such studies, prolonged exposure to a face with a particular characteristic (e.g., female) temporarily biases subsequent perception of faces in the opposite direction in face-space (e.g., male). Here we report such adaptation in a brief, implicit adaptation paradigm using parameterized silhouetted face profiles that rely on 18 landmark points to specify each face (Davidenko, 2004). We constructed a set of 8 male and 8 female face silhouettes, and a gender-neutral silhouette produced by averaging 20 male and 20 female silhouettes. Subjects were unaware that there were separate adaptation and test conditions; they simply rated each of 9 silhouettes on one of four dimensions: age, race, attractiveness, or gender. The first 8 silhouettes were either all female (Condition 1) or all male (Condition 2), and the 9th face was gender-neutral. Gender was only rated on the 9th face. We report a dramatic gender aftereffect with face silhouettes: 97% of subjects in Condition 1 (57 of 59) labeled the neutral silhouette as male, compared to 39% in Condition 2 (24 of 62). To our knowledge, this is the first report of face adaptation using profiles. In addition, these effects further validate Davidenko's silhouette face-space.
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