Person (Mis)Perception? On the Biased Representation of the Human Body

Kerri L. Johnson

in People Watching

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195393705
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979271 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Series in Visual Cognition

Person (Mis)Perception? On the Biased Representation of the Human Body

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A considerable amount of research has shown that observers are attuned to cues in the human body—including its shape and motion—that permit them to successfully categorize others into groups (e.g., sex categories). In spite of these remarkable attunements and sensitivities, observers may nevertheless exhibit systematic perceptual biases in the social perception of bodies. This chapter considers the functional underpinnings of one such bias—the bias to categorize others to be male—and relates biases in sex categorization to self-protective motivations.

Keywords: sex categorization; gender perception; social perception; person perception; social affordance bias; functional affordance; waist-to-hip ratio; contextualized perception; motivation; safety concerns; evaluation

Chapter.  9117 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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