Size perception is less context-sensitive in males



Phillips W, Chapman KLS & Berry PD (2004) Size perception is less context-sensitive in males. Perception, 33 (1), pp. 79-86.

Context sensitivity of size perception has previously been used to study individual differences related to the distinction between local, analytic, or field-independent and global, holistic, or field-dependent perceptual styles. For example, it has been used in several recent studies of autistic spectrum disorders, which may involve an excessive bias toward local processing. Autism is much more common in males, and there is evidence that this may be in part because males in general tend to be less context-sensitive than females, and thus are more affected by conditions that further reduce context sensitivity. There is also evidence that a bias to local processing is more common in professions that require attention to detail. Context sensitivity of size perception was therefore studied as a function of sex and academic discipline in sixty-four university staff and students by a simple, sensitive, and specific psychophysical measure based on the Ebbinghaus illusion. The results show that in this task males are on average less context-sensitive than females, that the overlap is large, and that subjects with very high or very low context sensitivity tend to have the sex and profession predicted by the above hypotheses.

Perception: Volume 33, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2004

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Professor Bill Phillips

Professor Bill Phillips

Emeritus Professor, Psychology