Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The illusion of sex

Here is a figure from a neat article (PDF here) by Richard Russell illustrating how facial contrast and cosmetics can alter the perceived sex of an androgynous face.


The Illusion of Sex. The face on the left appears male, while the face on the right appears female. Both images were produced by making slight alterations to the same original image. The eyes and lips were unaltered, and hence equally dark in both images. The remainder of the image was darkened to produce the left image, and lightened to produce the right image. The eyes and lips may appear darker in the right image than in the left image, but are notöit is an example of simultaneous contrast.

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:22 PM

    It's a trap!

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  2. Anonymous6:20 AM

    Of course it's a trap, they picked a very feminine picture. It wouldn't have worked if they use MY face, that's for sure.

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  3. Anonymous10:35 PM

    Are you retarded? It's not a "feminine" face. It's ANDROGYNOUS. Get a dictionary.

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  4. This is a pretty dumb article. Check this out instead http://www.factopo.com/

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  5. Izkata2:51 AM

    ...I saw a male in both images before reading the article...

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  6. It certainly wouldn't have worked if they'd used Deric's face.

    I second the vote that it is a very feminine face. It doesn't matter what "androgynous" means. Feminine, androgynous, and masculine are very subjectively interpreted properties. So, the researches may have selected a face which they felt was androgynous (and we don't know what criteria they used to judge whether a face was androgynous), but their criteria are not definitively the same as my criteria or anybody else's criteria.

    Further, since "androgynous" means "posessing qualities of both sexes", then even if we accept the researchers' criteria, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the face is both masculine and feminine and hence, if the face not feminine, it wouldn't have been androgynous, and it wouldn't have worked.

    Anyhow. If anyone is retarded, it's Mr. 11:35 PM. 7:20 AM is right on.

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  7. Deanne3:13 PM

    "Further, since "androgynous" means "posessing qualities of both sexes", then even if we accept the researchers' criteria, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the face is both masculine and feminine and hence, if the face not feminine, it wouldn't have been androgynous, and it wouldn't have worked."

    Quite right. And it also follows that it is a masculine face. Making statements that an image selected to appear androgynous to the the average, normal human is either masculine or feminine redundant.

    Also correct is that the interpretation of how equally balanced between male and female the picture is, and hence how androgynous, is subjective. So shut up with your meaningless, subjective interpretation. Genius.

    This is an interesting article that demonstrates very simply and graphically how make-up tricks like lipstick can have a powerful effect.

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  8. colleen1:53 PM

    Its a young face ...which can be made to look male or female...but looks slightly more like a female face

    Older faces well..they tend to look more male..but can also be made to look male or female depending on hair and makeup.

    Imo there is a great deal of natural overlap in appearance between the sexes that is hidden by our cultural training to alter our appearance to look more like our sex type

    ( In other words ..women wear makeup etc..but without all the stuff we do to ourselves, the sexes would look more alike. )

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  9. the picture in the right is an one ugly girl. :D

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  10. I agree with all the above comments

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  11. Anonymous11:59 AM

    OK, so now we know that with the right make-up and lighting, some not-very-masculine-looking guys can look like girls?
    Cruising for trans-sexual hookers in the evening time, was that the research?

    Dennis Rodman still makes one butt-ugly woman, no matter how dark it is and how much make-up he uses.

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  12. Anonymous7:34 PM

    Interesting... I saw both images as a female face before reading anything... I wonder if part of the perception of whether the face appares more male or female has anything to do with the gender of the viewer... maybe I am more likely to view it as a female face because I am female... more relatable?

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  13. the picture on the left is darker and gives the person an illusion of a broader chin too..
    thats my 2 cents anyway

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  14. Interesting. I saw both faces as female.

    Benjamin Koshkin

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  15. Anonymous7:19 PM

    Did anyone bother to look up androgynous while they were complaining?

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