Title

Hands as sex cues: sensitivity measures, male bias measures, and implications for sex perception mechanisms

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Gaetano, JM, van der Zwan, R, Blair, DC & Brooks, A 2014, 'Hands as sex cues: sensitivity measures, male bias measures, and implications for sex perception mechanisms', PLoS One, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. e91032.

Article available on Open Access

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

Sex perceptions, or more particularly, sex discriminations and sex categorisations, are high-value social behaviours. They mediate almost all inter-personal interactions. The two experiments reported here had the aim of exploring some of the basic characteristics of the processes giving rise to sex perceptions. Experiment 1 confirmed that human hands can be used as a cue to an individual’s sex even when colour and texture cues are removed and presentations are brief. Experiment 1 also showed that when hands are sexually ambiguous observers tend to classify them as male more often than female. Experiment 2 showed that ‘‘male bias’’ arises not from sensitivity differences but from differences in response biases. Observers are conservative in their judgements of targets as female but liberal in their judgements of targets as male. These data, combined with earlier reports, suggest the existence of a sex-perception space that is cue-invariant.