Gender Perception Essay

Gender Perception Essay

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From the moment we are born we undergo an intense process of gender socialization largely perpetuated by our parents and enforced by society. The gender system organizes our culture in such a way that men and women are expected to maintain certain physical attributes to portray society’s view of femininity and masculinity. Women are expected to irradiate delicateness and refinement by emphasizing important features such as their eyes, lips, eyebrows and cheeks. Men, on the other hand, tend to point out their masculinity through overt behaviors rather than facial trait accentuation. However, if these façades are stripped away one would notice that male and female faces are more similar than we would like to believe. In various ways this illustrates the inaccuracy of our ability to tell a person’s gender when all the usual accentuations are taken away. In recent years our inconsistencies of gender perception has received much research interest with varying results.
Carey and Diamond (1977) conducted an experiment to illustrate that children below the age of ten remember photographs of faces presented upside down with equivalent accuracy as photos presented upright; however, they found that these children were easily deceived by simple disguises. They hypothesized that at the age of ten children develop the ability to encode faces despite photo orientation and/or superficial disguises. Carey and Diamond presented evidence to support their hypothesis but conducting two experiments.
Experiment one sought to determine whether the recognition of faces is determined by visual stimuli (ex. busy eyebrows, mole, etc.) or distinctive spatial relationship among facial features and if they developed at separate times. The participants consi...


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...ey pad. Brebner, Martin and Macrae concluded that when hair cues weren’t present participants had a slower reaction time in guessing the gender of the first name. However, when hair cues were present our automatic activation of gender perception was activated. During this experiment a crucial question emerged. Was it possible that the facial cues presented lead the participants to make wayward categorical judgments? This was answered in the second experiment.
The second experimental procedure was identical to the first with a few modifications. Each of the facial distracters was paired with intact hair cues. However, half of the faces were presented with gender matching hairstyle (i.e. males with short hair and females with long hair), while the other half were presented with non-gender matching hairstyles (i.e., males with long hair and females with short hair).

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