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Hearing changes how we perceive gender
Date:10/24/2007

nity or femininity, said Suzuki. Sounds seem to influence visual gender in a much more fundamental way on the basis of their absolute frequencies processed in early auditory brain areas.

The researchers focused on gender perception, because people have such a strong need to categorize people as male or female. We all know the feeling of meeting a person who is very androgynous, said Smith. We simply need to know and will use any information at our disposal to identify a persons gender. It is probably quite evolutionarily adaptive to be able to accurately tell males from females, as far as propagation of ones genes is concerned.

What is on the horizon?

If sound can implicitly bias visual gender perception, then we need to consider whether other senses, such as smell, might yield similar effects, said Smith. Future studies might use masculine and feminine colognes, or even human pheromones to bias people to see androgynous faces as either male or female. With the possibility of other senses biasing the way that we see the world, our visual experience of gender might turn out to be much more than meets the eye.


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Contact: Pat Vaughan Tremmel
p-tremmel@northwestern.edu
847-491-4892
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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