Gender Perception Research paper


Gender Perception from


Which facial features lead to classification of a face as male or female? As you can imagine, the answer is not a simple one. Research by Campbell, Benson, Wallace, Doesbergh, and Coleman (1999) found the eye and brow ridge to be particularly influential when viewing a face straight on; specifically, the vertical distance between the eye and the brow affect the gender classification of pictures of faces directly facing the camera. Other research (Farkas, 1988; Thornhill & Moller, 1997) confirms the importance of the brow region explaining that a broad jaw and prominent brow ridge indicate testosterone exposure and thus is associated with male classification. Other research (Takemasa, Yasuki, Ryosuke, Shigeru & Shinichi, 2014) challenges that simplifying gender perception to individual facial features fails to account for the holistic nature of processing gender perception when looking at one’s face.

Children and adults often report that they base their judgments of gender on features such as hair length or clothing. However, hair length can be long or short on a man or a woman, and men and women do wear similar types of clothing. Despite the potential for confusion, people reliably categorize individuals in the absence of information about hair or clothing. This study explores the role of facial features in cueing gender classification.

In this study, participants view photographs of faces (hair and neck covered) presented in three conditions: 1) full view – the full face is visible, 2) eyes only – only the eye and brow region are visible, 3) mouth only – only the mouth and chin regions are visible. Participants are asked to identify the gender of each stimulus and to indicate their confidence in their judgment.


There are two independent variables: facial cues (with three levels: full face, eyes only, mouth only) and gender (with two levels: male faces, female faces). This design produces the six different conditions defined by this 3 x 2 within-subject factorial design; 8 male and 8 female models appear with the full-face view, eyes-only view, and mouth-only view.

Participants identify whether the face is male or female and rate their confidence in this evaluation. Thus, the dependent variables are: 1) accuracy in identification of gender of faces, and 2) confidence in the accuracy of responses.

Data Download, Format & Analyses

New column included in data reports!

There is a Profile ID included in new data reports. This is specific to each user. The User ID shown in old reports is now called Experiment Results ID. If a user takes an experiment multiple times, the Experiment Results ID will be different each time but the Profile ID will be consistent. To access the original data formats with User ID, use the OLD DATA files. The image below is not an exact representation of the XLS download. For more information, see our FAQs.

The data file includes the following variables for each participant, in this order: Profile ID, Experiment Results ID, Class ID; gender, age, hand preference, date of data collection, number of correctly classified faces followed by associated confidence rating for photos of female ‘eyes,’ female ‘mouth,’ female ‘full face,’ male ‘eyes,’ male ‘mouth,’ and male ‘full face.’ An excerpt of the data is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1


In this experiment, gender is treated as a dichotomous (either/or) variable: face gender (IV) is defined as either male or female, and face perception (DV) is measured as ‘male’ or ‘female.’ In many cultures, species and situations, gender often functions this way. For instance, when asked to check a box ‘M’ for male or ‘F’ for female on an application form, most people answer effortlessly. However, gender can be experienced, conceptualized, and operationally defined as consisting of more than two categories (e.g. male, female, intersexed) or as varying along one or more continuous dimensions (e.g. masculinity, femininity, androgyny). Because gender powerfully shapes people’s feelings about themselves and others and their roles in society, careful consideration of the possible meanings of gender and implications for its scientific study is warranted.

An additional issue relevant here concerns how faces differ other than gender. Other variables such as attractiveness (Wells, Baguley, Sergeant & Dunn, 2013), age (Mouchetant-Rostaing & Giard, 2003), ethnicity (Armann & Bülthoff, 2012), and facial expression (Chengwei, Ying, Zahida, Wenhui, Bo & Zhongqing, 2017) influence face perception and could influence how easily or confidently faces are categorized as male or female. Thus, controlling for variables such as these may affect the outcome of studies of gender perception.


Armann, R., & Bülthoff, I. (2012). Male and female faces are only perceived categorically when linked to familiar identities – And when in doubt, he is a male. Vision Research, 6369-80. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2012.05.005

Campbell, R. Benson, P.F., Wallace, S. B., Doesbergh, S., & Coleman, M. (1999). More about brows: How poses that change brow position affect perceptions of gender. Perception, 28, 489-504.

Carey, S., & Diamond, R. (1977). From piecemeal to configural representation of faces. Science, 195, 312-314.

Chengwei, L., Ying, L., Zahida, I., Wenhui, L., Bo, L., & Zhongqing, J. (2017). Symmetrical and asymmetrical interactions between facial expressions and gender information in face perception. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01383/full

Farkas, L. (1988). Age- and sex-related change in facial proportions. In L.G. Farkas & I.R. Muro (Eds.), Anthropometric proportion in medicine (pp.29-56). Springfield, IL: Thomas.

Mouchetant-Rostaing, Y., & Giard, M. (2003). Electrophysiological correlates of age and gender perception on human faces. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 6, 900.

Takemasa, E., Yasuki, E., Ryosuke, E., Shigeru, E., & Shinichi, E. (2014). A critical role of holistic processing in face gender perception. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00477/full

Thornhill, R. & Moller, A. P. (1997). Developmental stability, disease, and medicine. Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 72, 497-548.

Wells, T., Baguley, T., Sergeant, M., & Dunn, A. (2013). Perceptions of human attractiveness comprising face and voice cues. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(5), 805-811. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-0054-0

Unit 5: Assignment – Research Proposal

Use the following outline to guide you in writing an 8-10 page APA-style paper that includes all of the following sections. Make sure your paper is not just an outline. It needs to be written as a journal article.

Paper Introduction

  1. Title Page
  2. Abstract Page
  3. Body of Introduction

A. Topic Introduction

  1. Introduce the topic (a good quote, old saying, or simple statement of a good example from everyday life is a great way to give the reader the idea and get them interested in reading more).
  2. In general terms, what is your hypothesis?

B. Overview

  1. What will the reader read about in the rest of this article? This should be a brief overview or “road map” of what the rest of your article will do.
  2. In general terms, what is your hypothesis?

C. Summary 1

  1. What topic did they study?
  2. How is this related to your topic?
  3. What are the major components of the theory?
  4. What does their theory have to do with your hypothesis?
  5. Give examples of how this applies to your study.

D. Summary 2

Summarize the second article.

  1. What topic did they study?
  2. How is this related to your topic?
  3. Who did they test?
  4. How did they test them?
  5. What did they find (results)?
  6. What does their result have to do with your hypothesis?

E. Summary 3

Summarize the third article:

  1. What topic did they study?
  2. How is this related to your topic?
  3. Who did they test?
  4. How did they test them?
  5. What did they find (results)?
  6. What does their result have to do with your hypothesis?

F. Summary 4

Summarize the fourth article:

  1. What topic did they study?
  2. How is this related to your topic?
  3. Who did they test?
  4. How did they test them?
  5. What did they find (results)?
  6. What does their result have to do with your hypothesis?

G. Overall Summary

Overall summary of prior research related to your study:

  1. What is the main thing(s) that all of these articles indicate?
  2. How do the results of these previous studies lead to your hypothesis or change the way you plan to conduct your experiment?
  1. Hypothesis
  1. A formal statement of your hypothesis. This must include the name of an independent variable (or variables) that you predict will cause a change in a dependent variable. Make sure that that these independent and dependent variables are listed in your data file, so that you can actually test their relationship, statistically.
  2. A brief statement of the main reasons that you think your hypothesis is true, based on the previous studies that you’ve just reviewed.


(This should be on a new page with “References” centered)

For example:

Brown, N. R. & Siegler, R. S. (1993). Metrics and mappings: A framework for understanding real-world quantitative estimation. Psychological Review, 100, 511-534.

Pirate Search will create an APA style Reference for you. Just click “Cite” and choose APA. Be sure they are double-spaced and use CTRL-t to “reverse indent” them.