Certain features of facial appearance perceptually resemble expressive cues related to facial displays of emotion. We hypothesized that because expressive markers of anger (such as lowered eyebrows) overlap with perceptual markers of male sex, perceivers would identify androgynous angry faces as more likely to be a man than a woman (Study 1) and would be slower to classify an angry woman as a woman than an angry man as a man (Study 2). Conversely, we hypothesized that because perceptual features of fear (raised eyebrows) and happiness (a rounded smiling face) overlap with female sex markers, perceivers would be more likely to identify an androgynous face showing these emotions as a woman than as a man (Study 1) and would be slower to identify happy and fearful men as men than happy and fearful women as women (Study 2). The results of the two studies showed that happiness and fear expressions bias sex discrimination toward the female, whereas anger expressions bias sex perception toward the male.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems