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People WatchingSocial, Perceptual, and Neurophysiological Studies of Body Perception$
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Kerri Johnson and Maggie Shiffrar

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195393705

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195393705.001.0001

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Person (Mis)Perception? On the Biased Representation of the Human Body

Person (Mis)Perception? On the Biased Representation of the Human Body

(p.203) Chapter 12Person (Mis)Perception? On the Biased Representation of the Human Body
People Watching

Kerri L. Johnson

Oxford University Press

A considerable amount of research has shown that observers are attuned to cues in the human body—including its shape and motion—that permit them to successfully categorize others into groups (e.g., sex categories). In spite of these remarkable attunements and sensitivities, observers may nevertheless exhibit systematic perceptual biases in the social perception of bodies. This chapter considers the functional underpinnings of one such bias—the bias to categorize others to be male—and relates biases in sex categorization to self-protective motivations.

Keywords:   sex categorization, gender perception, social perception, person perception, social affordance bias, functional affordance, waist-to-hip ratio, contextualized perception, motivation, safety concerns, evaluation

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