Experimental Brain Research

, 198:373 | Cite as

Gender bending: auditory cues affect visual judgements of gender in biological motion displays

  • R. van der Zwan
  • C. MacHatch
  • D. Kozlowski
  • N. F. Troje
  • O. Blanke
  • Anna Brooks
Research Article

Abstract

The movement of an organism typically provides an observer with information in more than one sensory modality. The integration of information modalities reduces the likelihood that the observer will be confronted with a scene that is perceptually ambiguous. With that in mind, observers were presented with a series of point-light walkers each of which varied in the strength of the gender information they carried. Presenting those stimuli with auditory walking sequences containing ambiguous gender information had no effect on observers’ ratings of visually perceived gender. When the visual stimuli were paired with auditory cues that were unambiguously female, observers’ judgments of walker gender shifted such that ambiguous walkers were judged to look more female. To show that this is a perceptual rather than a cognitive effect, we induced visual gender after-effects with and without accompanying female auditory cues. The pairing of gender-neutral visual stimuli with unambiguous female auditory cues during adaptation elicited male after-effects. These data suggest that biological motion processing mechanisms can integrate auditory and visual cues to facilitate the extraction of higher-order features like gender. Possible neural substrates are discussed.

Keywords

Biological motion Gender Point-light Aftereffect Audiovisual integration Multisensory 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by ARC Discovery project DP0209615 to vdZ.

Supplementary material

221_2009_1800_MOESM1_ESM.avi (2.7 mb)
Three movies of the walkers used in these experiments. These show the actual stimuli used in these experiments. The luminance polarities are as used in the experiments (dark dots on grey background). The movie “Walker −6” is the extreme female walker. This stimulus was used to adapt observers to “female” walking. (AVI 2,749 kb)
221_2009_1800_MOESM2_ESM.avi (2.7 mb)
The movie “Walker −1” is the stimulus closest to the point of gender ambiguity on the continuum used in these experiments. Statistically in the female part of the continuum adapting to a male walker made this Walker −1 appear more female. Adapting to a female walker made Walker −1 appear more male. (AVI 2,780 kb)
221_2009_1800_MOESM3_ESM.avi (2.7 mb)
The movie “Walker +6” is the extreme male walker. This stimulus was used to adapt observers to “male” walking. (AVI 2,774 kb)

References

  1. Barclay CD, Cutting JE, Kozlowski LT (1978) Temporal and spatial factors in gait perception that influence gender recognition. Percept Psychophys 23(2):145–152PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bidet-Caulet A, Voison J, Betrand O, Fonlupt P (2005) Listening to a walking human activates the temporal biological motion area. Neuroimage 28:132–159PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blake R, Shiffrar M (2007) Perception of human motion. Annu Rev Psychol 58:12.1–12.27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brooks A, van der Zwan R, Billard A, Petreska B, Clarke S, Blanke O (2007) Auditory motion affects visual biological motion processing. Neuropsychologia 45:523–530PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brooks A, Schouten B, Troje NF, Verfaillie K, Blanke O, van der Zwan R (2008) Correlated changes in perceptions of the gender and the orientation of ambiguous biological motion figures. Curr Biol 18:R728–R729PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burr D, Arrihi A, Marini D (2007) Audio-visual integration in the perception of tap-dance. In: The international intersensory research symposium: perception and action, 2007Google Scholar
  7. Giese MA, Poggio T (2003) Neural mechanisms for the recognition of biological movements. Nat Rev Neurosci 4:179–192PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Howard RR, Brammer M, Wright I, Woodruff PW, Bullmore ET, Zeki S (1996) A direct demonstration of functional specialization within motion related visual and auditory cortex of the human brain. Curr Biol 6:1015–1019PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Johansson G (1973) Visual perception of biological motion and a model for its analysis. Percept Psychophys 14:201–211Google Scholar
  10. Johnson K, Strand EA, D’Imperio M (1999) Auditory-visual integration of talker gender in vowel perception. J Phon 27:359–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jordan H, Fallah M, Stoner GR (2006) Adaptation of gender derived from biological motion. Nat Neurosci 9:738–739PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kawachi Y, Gyoba J (2006) Presentation of a visual nearby moving object alters stream/bounce event perception. Perception 35:1289–1294PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kovacs G, Zimmer M, Banko E, Harza I, Antal A, Vidnyanszky Z (2006) Electrophysiological correlates of visual adaptation to faces and body parts in humans. Cereb Cortex 16:742–753PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kozlowski LT, Cutting JE (1977) Recognising the sex of walkers from a dynamic point light display. Percept Psychophys 21:575–580Google Scholar
  15. Li X, Logan RJ, Pastore RE (1991) Perception of acoustic source characteristics: walking sounds. J Acoust Soc Am 90:3036–3049PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Mather G, Murdock ML (1994) Gender discrimination in biological motion displays based on dynamic cues. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 258:273–279Google Scholar
  17. Meyer G, Wuerger SM (2007) Auditory—visual integration for biological motion. Perception 36; ECVP Abstract SupplementGoogle Scholar
  18. Puce A, Perrett D (2003) Electrophysiology and brain imaging of biological motion. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 358:435–445PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Runeson S, Frykholm G (1983) Kinematic specification of dynamics as an informational basis for person-and-action perception: expectation, gender recognition, and deceptive intention. J Exp Psychol Gen 112(4):585–615Google Scholar
  20. Saygin AP (2007) Superior temporal and premotor brain areas necessary for biological motion perception. Brain 130:2452–2461PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Schubotz RI, von Cramon DY, Lohmann G (2003) Auditory what, where, and when: a sensory somatotopy in lateral premotor cortex. NeuroImage 20:173–185PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schweinberger SR, Casper C, Hauthal N, Kaufmann JM, Kawahara H, Kloth N et al (2008) Auditory adaptation in voice perception. Curr Biol 18:684–688PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sekuler R, Sekuler AB, Lau R (1997) Sound alters visual motion perception. Nature 385(23):308PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Troje NF (2002) Decomposing biological motion: a framework for analysis and synthesis of human gait patterns. J Vis 2(5):371–387PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Troje NF (2008) Retrieving information from human movement patterns. In: Shipley TF, Zacks JM (eds) Understanding events: how humans see, represent, and act on events. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 308–334Google Scholar
  26. Troje NF, Sadr J, Henning G, Nakayama N (2006) Adaptation aftereffects in the perception of gender from biological motion. J Vis 6:850–857PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. van der Zwan R, Wenderoth P (1994) Psychophysical evidence for area V2 involvement in the reduction of subjective contour tilt aftereffects by binocular rivalry. Vis Neurosci 11:823–830PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Watanabe K, Shimojo S (2001) When sound affects vision: effects of auditory grouping on visual motion perception. Psychol Sci 12:109–116PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Winer BJ (1962) Statistical principles in experimental design. McGraw Hill, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zhou F, Wong V, Sekuler R (2007) Multi-sensory integration of spatio-temporal segmentation cues: one plus one does not always equal two. Exp Brain Res 180:641–654PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. van der Zwan
    • 1
  • C. MacHatch
    • 1
  • D. Kozlowski
    • 1
  • N. F. Troje
    • 2
  • O. Blanke
    • 3
  • Anna Brooks
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Behaviour, Department of PsychologySouthern Cross UniversityCoffs HarbourAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and School of ComputingQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  3. 3.Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience, Brain-Mind InstituteEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations