The illusion of sex

2009 Third prize
Richard Russell

Harvard University, USA
The illusion of sex

In the Illusion of Sex, two faces are 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 androgynous 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. The Illusion of Sex demonstrates that contrast is an important cue for perceiving the sex of a face, with greater contrast appearing feminine, and lesser contrast appearing masculine.

Russell, R. (2009) A sex difference in facial pigmentation and its exaggeration by cosmetics. Perception, (38)1211-1219.

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