View all articles in this issue
The Inversion Effect: Biological Motion and Gender Recognition
Download this article for $1.00 (FREE for Members)
by Benjamin McGlothlin, Dawn Jiacoletti, and Lonnie Yandell - Belmont University
Experimenters have demonstrated human’s ability to perceive
biological motion using pointlight animations. Observers have also
recognized gender based on these displays. Furthermore, inversion effect
or preference for upright stimuli for biological motion has been
documented in the literature. While the inversion effect has been
documented in various experimental tasks, this effect needs to be examined
on the basis of recognition of gender. The primary aim of this experiment
was to examine the inversion effect using a novel task to replicate or refute,
as well as to examine how inversion impairs gender classiﬁcation. Twenty
seven participants completed gender recognition trials on both inverted
and upright pointlight displays, and experimenters measured accuracy of
gender recognition. Observers were less accurate at recognizing gender in
inverted pointlight displays of human biological motion, and the inversion
effect impacted identiﬁcation of male stimuli more than female stimuli.
While further research needs to be conducted, it should be noted that some
participants reported making gender decisions based on speciﬁc areas of
the human anatomy, which could be relevant for future studies.
Summer 2012 | Psi Chi Journal of Undergraduate Research (Vol. 14, No. 1, p. 35), published by Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology (Chattanooga, TN). Copyright, 2012, Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology. All rights reserved.