Sense of Touch May Influence Gender Perception01/16/11
SUNDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The sense of touch
influences your perceptions of masculinity and femininity,
according to a new study.
In one experiment, volunteers who were shown gender-neutral
faces were more likely to judge them as male if they were squeezing
a hard ball while viewing the faces and as female if they were
squeezing a soft ball.
In another experiment, volunteers were shown the gender-neutral
faces again and told to write their answers on pieces of paper with
carbon paper underneath. Some were told to press hard to make two
copies and some were told to press lightly so the carbon paper
could be reused. The participants who pressed hard were more likely
to say the faces were male, while those who pressed softly were
more likely to say the faces were female.
The study is published in the January issue of
"We were really surprised," study co-author Michael Slepian, a graduate student at Tufts University, said in a news release from the Association for Psychological Science. "It's remarkable that the feeling of handling something hard or soft can influence how you visually perceive a face."
The researchers said the results suggest that knowledge of
social categories such as gender is partly carried in the body,
just like other types of knowledge. There may be some bodily truth
to the stereotypes that men are tough and women are tender, they
noted in the news release.
Learn more about touch and other senses from the
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