Seminars & Events
Thursday, September 11, 2014: Dr. Bevil Conway (Wellesley College) will speak on his research in visual neuroscience and color at 4:30 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, October 27, 2014: Dr. Todd Gould (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Genes to behaviors to treatments in bipolar disorder" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.Friday, December 5, 2014: Dr. Brian Mathur (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Braking bad: Aberrant inhibitory neurotransmission in addiction" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Mirenzi, Aaron (2011). Analyzing the gender aftereffect in biological motion : the effects of adaptation to static and dynamic stimuli. (Mentor: E. Hiris)
Biological Motion stimuli present human form and motion through points of light placed on major joints of the human body. These point light walkers (PLWs), though minimal, present enough information for accurate gender perception. It has been shown that adapting to a hyper sexual PLW will bias the perception of a subsequent PLW as being the opposite gender (Troje, Sadr, Geyer, & Nakayama, 2006). Aftereffect research uses the assumption that the aftereffect is caused by adaptation to a particular aspect of the stimulus. In the case of biological motion perception, low level motions are combined to create a global form, which is then placed in a gender category. Thus, adaptation could be occurring to the motions of the stimulus, the form of the stimulus, or to gender as a concept. This paper addresses which physical aspects of biological motion are adapted to in the gender aftereffect. Experiment 1 used full body images, which evoked gender as a concept, as adaptation stimuli, however, these images were unable to cause an gender aftereffect in the perception of a PLW, suggesting that the aftereffect is perceptual, not conceptual. Experiment 2 used PLWs reduced to four hip and shoulder points as adaptation stimuli. Despite research showing the critical nature of hip and shoulder points for gender perception, adaptation to these points alone did not cause a gender aftereffect in a complete PLW. Experiment 3 used static PLWs to test whether the form of the stimulus was the adaptive property of the stimulus. Contrary to several studies showing the importance of motion in gender perception, we found that adaptation to a non-moving PLW created an aftereffect similar to when a dynamic PLW was adapted to. We conclude that in the gender aftereffect in biological motion, the form of the stimulus is the adaptive property. Experiment 3 suggests that form processing is critical for gender perception in humans, even in displays which highlight human motion, and minimize human form.