Making moves: How sex and race are detected from biological motion


Humans are able to successfully detect characteristics about others that serve to guide interaction, yet the source of this information is unclear. We hypothesized that biological motion specifies sex and race as these invariant categorical characteristics often guide interaction. Results indicated that movement kinematics are necessary but not sufficient for sex detection and that race is detectable when movement is produced by Caucasians but not African Americans, and only when kinematic information is embedded in body structure. These results imply that social psychological perspectives on person perception should be integrated with ecological psychological perspectives on affordances in order to understand social cognition.

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