Generalizing from human facial sexual dimorphism to sex-differentiate macaques: Accuracy and cultural variation

Robert G. Franklin, Leslie A. Zebrowitz, Jean Marc Fellous, Annie Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Anthropomorphism in impressions of animals is commonplace, and this generalization from humans to animals is one example of a broader tendency to generalize from adaptively significant categories when judging specific exemplars. Although anthropomorphism may lead to unlikely or incorrect judgments, it fostered accurate sex-differentiation of macaque faces due to an appropriate generalization from the sexually dimorphic cues that distinguish human male and female faces to macaques. As predicted, Koreans performed better than Caucasians in sex-differentiating macaque faces, a difference mediated by Koreans' greater use of sexually dimorphic eye height cues. These results extend and disambiguate evidence of East Asian superiority in sex-differentiating human faces. Whereas an own-race advantage might explain the previous but not the present findings, both can be explained by East Asians' keener sensitivity to sexually dimorphic cues, perhaps owing to the greater subtlety of such cues in East Asian faces. Implications of this sensitivity for other cultural differences in person perception are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-348
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2013

Keywords

  • Cultural variation
  • Face perception
  • Sex perception
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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