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J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2002 Aug;28(4):854-67.

Perceptual integrality of sex and identity of faces: further evidence for the single-route hypothesis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.


According to current face-recognition models, sex (gender) and identity of faces are processed in independent routes. Using Garner's speeded-classification task, the authors provide evidence that sex and identity are processed within a single route. In 4 experiments, participants judged the sex or the familiarity of faces while the other dimension remained constant or varied randomly. The results of Experiments 1, 2, and 4 showed that participants could not selectively attend to either sex or familiarity without being influenced by the other, irrelevant dimension. Thus, identity and sex are integral dimensions. Experiment 3 provided evidence that when sex judgments are based on hairstyle heuristics, false separability can emerge. The findings support the claim that identity and sex are processed within a single route.

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