SEX DIFFERENCES IN BODY LANGUAGE READING

  • Arseny A. Sokolov
  • Samuel Krüger
  • Marina A. Pavlova

Abstract

Body motion is a rich source of information for social cognition. However, gender effects in body language reading are largely unknown. Here we investigated whether recognition of emotional expressions revealed by body motion is gender dependent. To this end, females and males were presented with point-light displays portraying knocking at a door performed with different emotional expressions. Our findings show that gender affects accuracy rather than speed of body language reading. This effect is modulated by emotional content of actions: males surpass in recognition accuracy of happy actions, whereas females tend to excel in recognition of hostile angry knocking. Advantage of women in recognition accuracy of neutral actions suggests that females are better tuned to the lack of emotional content in body actions. The study provides novel insights into understanding of gender effects in body language reading, and helps to shed light on gender vulnerability to neuropsychiatric impairments in visual social cognition.

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