Sense of touch influences gender perception

The sense of touch influences your perceptions of masculinity and femininity, according to a new study.

In one experiment, volunteers who were shown gender-neutral faces were more likely to judge them as male if they were squeezing a hard ball while viewing the faces and as female if they were squeezing a soft ball.

In another experiment, volunteers were shown the gender-neutral faces again and told to write their answers on pieces of paper with carbon paper underneath. Some were told to press hard to make two copies and some were told to press lightly so the carbon paper could be reused.

The participants who pressed hard were more likely to say the faces were male, while those who pressed softly were more likely to say the faces were female.

The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.

Men are tough, women tender?

"We were really surprised," said study co-author Michael Slepian, a graduate student at Tufts University. "It's remarkable that the feeling of handling something hard or soft can influence how you visually perceive a face."

The researchers said the results suggest that knowledge of social categories such as gender is partly carried in the body, just like other types of knowledge. There may be some bodily truth to the stereotypes that men are tough and women are tender, they noted in the news release.


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
29% - 9743 votes
No
71% - 23840 votes
Vote