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Gender Discrimination in Biological Motion Displays Based on Dynamic Cues

George Mather and Linda Murdoch
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 258, No. 1353 (Dec. 22, 1994), pp. 273-279
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/50091
Page Count: 7
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Gender Discrimination in Biological Motion Displays Based on Dynamic Cues
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Abstract

Studies of human locomotion have found that male and female walkers differ in terms of lateral body sway, with males tending to swing their shoulders from side to side more than their hips, and females tending to swing their hips more than their shoulders. Experiments reported here demonstrate that naive viewers can identify the gender of the figure in a biological motion display very reliably when the display contains gender-specific lateral body sway. Sensitivity to gender is high even for displays containing only a fraction of a step cycle. This dynamic cue dominates structural cues based on torso shape (`centre-of-moment') when the cues are set in opposition. It is mediated by gender-specific differences in the velocity of shoulder and hip dots, not by positional differences in shoulder and hip dots during the step cycle.

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