Making moves

how sex and race are detected from biological motion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contribution


Humans are able to successfully detect characteristics about others that serve to guide interaction, yet the source of this information is unclear. We hypothesized that biological motion specifies sex and race as these invariant categorical characteristics often guide interaction. Results indicated that movement kinematics are necessary but not sufficient for sex detection and that race is detectable when movement is produced by Caucasians but not African Americans, and only when kinematic information is embedded in body structure. These results imply that social psychological perspectives on person perception should be integrated with ecological psychological perspectives on affordances in order to understand social cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 37th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsD. C. Noelle, R. Dale, A. S. Warlaumont, J. Yoshimi, T. Matlock, C. D. Jennings, P. P. Maglio
Place of PublicationAustin, TX
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780991196722
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (37th : 2015) - Pasadena, United States
Duration: 22 Jul 201525 Jul 2015


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (37th : 2015)
CountryUnited States


  • social cognition
  • kinematic specification of dynamics
  • person perception
  • biological motion

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