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Eric Hiris, Aaron Mirenzi; The Role of Motion and Form in the Sex Aftereffect in Biological Motion.. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):646. doi: 10.1167/12.9.646.
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Previous research has shown that adapting to point light walkers (PLWs) can create a sex aftereffect; for example, adapting to a male PLW results in a bias to perceive subsequently viewed PLWs as female. We sought to determine what information within the PLWs creates this sex aftereffect. In a series of four experiments we measured the sex aftereffect on PLWs with the following adapting stimuli: 1) a PLW, 2) a stationary full body image, 3) a PLW consisting of just the hip and shoulder movements, 4) a static PLW, 5) a PLW consisting of hip, shoulder, and foot movements, and 6) static lines representing the arms and legs. Participants viewed the adapting stimulus, either male, neutral or female, for 8 to 10 seconds on each trial immediately followed by the PLW serving as the test stimulus for one or two seconds. The test PLW varied from trial to trial and ranged from male through neutral to female. After the test PLW disappeared, participants indicated whether it appeared to be male or female by pressing a key on a response box. Data from each experiment were analyzed with a three way repeated measures ANOVA (adaptation type, adaptation sex, test sex). In all experiments we replicated the basic sex aftereffect when using a moving PLW. However, the only other adapting stimulus to create a sex aftereffect was adaptation to a static PLW (none of the other adapting stimuli resulted in a significant effect of adaptation sex). The results lead us to three conclusions: 1) motion information is not necessary to create a sex aftereffect in PLWs, 2) information about shape that can be represented with static dots is critical in creating the sex aftereffect in PLWs, 3) a general sex perception mechanism is not responsible for the sex aftereffect in PLWs.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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