Presentation Abstract

Program#/Poster#: 603.9
Title: Local gender biases in face appearance
Location: Room N228
Presentation Time: Tuesday, Oct 20, 2009, 3:00 PM - 3:15 PM
1Dept Psychol, Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA; 2Lab. de Psychologie de la Perception, Universite┬┤ de Paris Descartes, Paris, France
Abstract: The identity of an object is a fixed property, independent of where it appears and an effective visual system should capture this invariance. However, we now report that the perceived gender of a face is strongly biased toward male or female at different locations in the visual field; the same face may appear to be a woman when seen at one position but a man at another. The spatial pattern of these biases was distinctive for each of the 8 subjects we tested and stable across a 3-5 week interval. Identical neutral faces looked different when they were presented simultaneously at locations maximally biased to opposite genders. A similar (but slightly reduced) effect was observed for perceived age of faces. The spatial scale of the gender bias reveals the upper limit on the spatial extent of independent analysis areas for face recognition. We measured the magnitude of this perceptual heterogeneity for three other visual tasks: perceived aspect ratio of an ellipse, orientation discrimination and color discrimination. The effect was sizeable for the aspect ratio task but substantially smaller for the color and orientation tasks, ruling out low level factors as the main source of the gender effect. We suggest that spatially overlapping, redundant measurement of these lower level features reduces variations, whereas analysis of shapes is accomplished in non-overlapping analysis regions of medium scale. The local gender biases that we report here may exert an idiosyncratic effect on human eyewitness accuracy for briefly glimpsed faces.
Disclosures:  S. Afraz, None; M. Vaziri Pashkam, None; P. Cavanagh, None.
Keyword(s): translation invariance
perceptual heterogeneity
Support: NIH EY09258 (PC)
Chaire d'Excellence ANR (PC)
Harvard University GSAS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (SRA)
[Authors]. [Abstract Title]. Program No. XXX.XX. 2009 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Chicago, IL: Society for Neuroscience, 2009. Online.

2009 Copyright by the Society for Neuroscience all rights reserved. Permission to republish any abstract or part of any abstract in any form must be obtained in writing by SfN office prior to publication.

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