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Katie Grein '13 presents her SMP

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Katie Ewing

Ewing, Katie (2010, May). How motion and nonmotion adaptation affects gender recognition.
Mentor: Dr. Eric Hiris


Biological motion is the perception of a human in motion when only points of light are visible to indicate its form and motion.  These point light displays, or PLWers, are also able to carry information regarding the walker’s gender.  In adaptation aftereffect studies of biological motion, viewing a male walker for an extended period of time results in perceiving subsequently viewed PLWers as female, and viewing a female walker for an extended period of time results in the perception of subsequently viewed walkers as male.  One question that this phenomenon raises is whether adaptation is occurring to the sex of the walker, or to its form and motion.  In order to answer this question, experiment 1 used biological motion displays and faces as adapting stimuli.  The results indicated that an aftereffect was created in response to biological motion adaptation, but not in adaptation to faces.  This result supports adaptation to motion or form.  However, there may not be enough overlap in neural structures for biological motion and face perception.  Thus, experiment 2 used full body images, in the place of faces, as adapting stimuli.  For this experiment, no aftereffects were found in response to full body adaptation, nor to biological motion adaptation.  Because aftereffects were created in experiment 1, the authors concluded that a problem may have occurred with the observers in which their ability to adapt to the stimuli was interrupted.  This research lays the groundwork for using different types of stimuli to study biological motion adaptation.

Read the paper (download the pdf)