Something in the way we move: Motion, not perceived sex, influences nods in conversation

Boker, Steven M., Cohn, Jeffrey F., Theobald, Barry-John, Matthews, Iain, Mangini, Michael, Spies, Jeffrey R., Ambadar, Zara and Brick, Timothy R. (2011) Something in the way we move: Motion, not perceived sex, influences nods in conversation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37 (3). pp. 874-891. ISSN 1939-1277

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During conversation, women tend to nod their heads more frequently and more vigorously than men. An individual speaking with a woman tends to nod his or her head more than when speaking with a man. Is this due to social expectation or due to coupled motion dynamics between the speakers? We present a novel methodology that allows us to randomly assign apparent identity during free conversation in a videoconference, thereby dissociating apparent sex from motion dynamics. The method uses motion-tracked synthesized avatars that are accepted by naive participants as being live video. We find that 1) motion dynamics affect head movements but that apparent sex does not; 2) judgments of sex are driven almost entirely by appearance; and 3) ratings of masculinity and femininity rely on a combination of both appearance and dynamics. Together, these findings are consistent with the hypothesis of separate perceptual streams for appearance and biological motion. In addition, our results are consistent with a view that head movements in conversation form a low level perception and action system that can operate independently from top–down social expectations.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Computing Sciences
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Science > Research Groups > Interactive Graphics and Audio
Depositing User: Vishal Gautam
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2011 16:31
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2024 01:19
DOI: 10.1037/a0021928

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