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Is the left hemisphere androcentric? Evidence of the learned categorical perception of gender

Thorne, S, Hegarty, P and Catmur, C (2015) Is the left hemisphere androcentric? Evidence of the learned categorical perception of gender Laterality, 20 (5). pp. 571-584.

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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Effects of language learning on categorical perception have been detected in multiple domains. We extended the methods of these studies to gender and pitted the predictions of androcentrism theory and the spatial agency bias against each other. Androcentrism is the tendency to take men as the default gender and is socialized through language learning. The spatial agency bias is a tendency to imagine men before women in the left–right axis in the direction of one's written language. We examined how gender-ambiguous faces were categorized as female or male when presented in the left visual fields (LVFs) and right visual fields (RVFs) to 42 native speakers of English. When stimuli were presented in the RVF rather than the LVF, participants (1) applied a lower threshold to categorize stimuli as male and (2) categorized clearly male faces as male more quickly. Both findings support androcentrism theory suggesting that the left hemisphere, which is specialized for language, processes face stimuli as male-by-default more readily than the right hemisphere. Neither finding evidences an effect of writing direction predicted by the spatial agency bias on the categorization of gender-ambiguous faces.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Date : 5 March 2015
Identification Number : 10.1080/1357650X.2015.1016529
Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Laterality on 05/03/2015, available online:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 29 Sep 2015 14:32
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2016 02:08

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