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Chihiro Asanoi, Koichi Oda; A huge individual difference in perceiving sex and gender of point light walkers. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1603. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1603.
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Previous studies have shown that a human observer could perceive a person’s sex based on point-light walkers (PLW). Kozlowski et al. (2016) asked observers to identify not only PLW’s biological sex (male or female) but also its gender (masculine or feminine); their results revealed that perceptual sex and gender did not match completely. This study aims at examining this dissociation more in detail. It also investigates the relationship between gender perception and sex perception and how the latter could be explained by two perceived genders. Thirty-three university students (17 male, 16 female) observed the side view of 40 PLWs (20 male, 20 female) on a screen. The experiments consisted of three blocks. Observers were asked to report one of three different perceptual attributes on each block; whether they perceived the PLW to be(1) masculine or not, (2) feminine or not, and (3) male or female. In each block, PLWs were shown 10 times in random order, totaling 1200 trials. On the basis of the correlation coefficient between the frequency of reporting the PLW to be masculine and feminine, the observers were classified into three groups whose (1) perceptual masculinity and femininity were negatively correlated, (2) independent, and (3) positively correlated, the latter two of which were completely unexpected. Multiple linear regression analysis of sex perception showed that the regression coefficient was larger for femininity than for masculinity in 70% of observers. This suggests that the sex perception of PLWs could relatively depend on perception of femininity. This study replicated the dissociation between gender perception and sex perception from PLWs, and found a new dissociation between perception of femininity and masculinity and a huge individual difference in gender perception.
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