Thursday, February 4, 2010

Gender Bender



In a recent study by Richard Russell of Harvard University, the two faces above were perceived as male and female. However, both faces are actually versions of the same androgynous face. One face was created by increasing the contrast of the face, while the other face was created by decreasing the contrast. The face with more contrast is perceived as female, while the face with less contrast is perceived as male.

I'm not sure that this proves much more than that pale skin and darker lips are usually interpreted as more feminine, but perhaps it also provides a useful printing (or make-up) tip, and a reminder that our visual perception is extraordinarily subtle.

10 comments:

Evan said...

Off topic and feel free to delete, but I tried to link to this article from Facebook and apparently your entire blog has been blocked because "Some content in this message has been reported as abusive by Facebook users."

I'm livid, but I also thought you should know...

Alice Olive said...

This is amazing. I love how subtle elements drive our perception.

The Year in Pictures said...

Evan -

I've been told about this but don't know what to do about it. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
James.

pulicat said...

I'm curious how this applies to darker skinned people. Any thoughts?

*gemmifer* said...

This is such an interesting study in human perception!

And I've had the same problem with linking to Facebook. FB is rife with technical difficulties.

Anonymous said...

this is very interesting. cool post

Susan said...

Wow. This is fascinating.

The Concrete Commentator said...

fascinating

Ken said...

Could this be so because the more contrasty face appears to be using makeup?

...love Maegan said...

So interesting. I thought the darker one looked more "masculine" because of the dominant eyebrows ...but when I looked again, I thought they were the same face, just as you stated. Again, so interesting!