Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 525–536 | Cite as

Female-to-Male Transsexual Individuals Demonstrate Different Own Body Identification

  • Jamie D. Feusner
  • Jasenko Dervisic
  • Kyriaki Kosidou
  • Cecilia Dhejne
  • Susan Bookheimer
  • Ivanka Savic
Original Paper


Transsexualism is characterized by feelings of incongruity between one’s natal sex and one’s gender identity. It is unclear whether transsexual individuals have a body image that is more congruent with their gender identity than their sex assigned at birth (natal sex) and, if so, whether there are contributions from perceptual dysfunctions. We compared 16 pre-hormone treatment female-to-male transsexual (FtM) individuals to 20 heterosexual female and 20 heterosexual male controls on a visual identification task. Participants viewed photographs of their own body that were morphed by different degrees to bodies of other females or males, and were instructed to rate “To what degree is this picture you?” We also tested global vs. local visual processing using the inverted faces task. FtM differed from both control groups in demonstrating higher self-identification ratings for bodies morphed to the sex congruent with their gender identity, and across a broad range of morph percentages. This difference was more pronounced for longer viewing durations. FtM showed reduced accuracy for upright faces compared with female controls for short duration stimuli, but no advantage for inverted faces. These results suggest different own body identification in FtM, consisting of a relatively diffuse identification with body images congruent with their gender identity. This is more likely accounted for by conscious, cognitive factors than perceptual differences.


Transsexual Gender identity disorder Gender dysphoria Body image Inverted faces task Body identification 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral SciencesUCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and Neurology ClinicKarolinska Institute and University HospitalStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Gender Team, Psychiatry SouthwestCenter for Epidemiology and Community Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm County CouncilSolnaSweden
  4. 4.Gender Team, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Center for Andrology and Sexual Medicine and Centre for Psychiatry ResearchKarolinska Institute and University HospitalStockholmSweden
  5. 5.Center for Cognitive NeuroscienceSemel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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