Swagger, Sway, and Sexuality: Judging Sexual Orientation From Body Motion and Morphology
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People can accurately judge the sexual orientation of others, but the cues they use have remained elusive. In 3 studies, the authors examined how body shape and motion affect perceived sexual orientation. In 2 studies, participants judged the sexual orientation of computer-generated animations in which body shape and motion were manipulated. Gender-typical combinations (e.g., tubular body moving with shoulder swagger or hourglass body moving with hip sway) were perceived generally to be heterosexual; gender-atypical combinations were perceived generally to be homosexual. These effects were stronger for male targets. Body shape affected perceived sexual orientation of women, but motion affected perceived sexual orientation of both men and women. Study 3 replicated and extended these findings. Participants judged dynamic outlines of real people (men and women, both gay and straight) in which body shape and motion were measured. Again, gender-atypical body motion affected perceived sexual orientation and, importantly, affected accuracy as well.
author list (cited authors)
Johnson, K. L., Gill, S., Reichman, V., & Tassinary, L. G.