Point-light and full-view short video clips of female walkers were displayed on a CRT monitor and male students rated the likelihood of selecting a walker for various advances. Relationships between the ratings, the walkers’ self-reported frequencies of being approached, gait cues, and self-rated personality traits were examined. In the point-light condition, raters selected slow walkers with a short stride length and personality traits implying vulnerability as targets for inappropriate touching. In the full-view condition, the raters selected fashionably groomed or physically attractive walkers as sexual advance targets. These criteria corresponded partially with reported occurrences of advances. Awkward movement impression was suggested as a kinematic gait quality influencing sexual advance target choice.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aalsma, M. C., Zimet, G. D., Fortenberry, J. D., Blythe, M., & Orr, D. P. (2002). Reports of childhood sexual abuse by adolescents and young adults: Stability over time. Journal of Sex Research, 39, 259–263.
Albright, L., Kenny, D. A., & Malloy, T. E. (1988). Consensus in personality judgments at zero acquaintance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 387–395.
Allport, G., & Vernon, P. (1933). Studies in expressive movement. New York: Macmillan.
Ambady, N., & Rosenthal, R. (1992). Thin slices of expressive behavior as predictors of interpersonal consequences: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 236–274.
Ambady, N., & Rosenthal, R. (1993). Half a minute: Predicting teacher evaluations from thin slices of nonverbal behavior and physical attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 431–441.
Ambady, N., Hallahan, M., & Conner, B. (1999). Accuracy of judgments of sexual orientation from thin slices of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 38–547.
Barclay, C. D., Cutting, J. E., & Kozlowski, L. T. (1978). Temporal and spatial factors in gait perception that influence gender recognition. Perception & Psychophysics, 3,145–152.
Beardsworth, T., & Buckner, T. (1981). The ability to recognize oneself from a video recording of one’s movements without seeing one’s body. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 18, 19–22.
Borkenau, P., & Liebler, A. (1992). Trait inferences: Sources of validity at zero acquaintance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 645–657.
Borkenau, P., & Liebler, A. (1993). Consensus and self-other agreement for trait inferences from minimal information. Journal of Personality, 61, 477–496.
Briggs, S. R., Cheek, J. M., & Buss, A. H. (1980). An analysis of the self-monitoring scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 679–686.
Brown, T. A., Cash, T. F., & Noles, S. W. (1986). Perceptions of physical attractiveness among college students: Selected determinants and methodological matters. The Journal of Social Psychology, 126, 305–316.
Brown, W. M., Palameta, B., & Moore, C. (2003). Are there nonverbal cues to commitment? An exploratory study using the zero-acquaintance video presentation paradigm. Evolutionary Psychology, 1, 42–69.
Browne, A., & Finkelhor, D. (1986). Impact of child sexual abuse: A review of research. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 66–77.
Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. Newbury Park, NJ: Sage Publication.
Cheek, J. M., & Buss, A. R. (1981). Shyness and sociability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 330–339.
Clark, R. D., & Hatfield, E. (1989). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers. Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 2, 39–55.
Costa, P. T., & McCrae, R. R. (1989). The NEO-PI/NEO-FFI manual supplement. Odessa, FL: Pychological Assessment Resources.
Cutting, J. E., & Kozlowski, L. T. (1977). Recognizing friends by their walk: Gait perception without familiarity cues. Bulletin of the Pshychonomic Society, 9, 353–356.
Cutting, J. E., Proffitt, D. R., & Kozlowski, L. T. (1978). A biomechanical invariant for gait perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 4, 357–372.
Driscoll, D. M., Kelly, J. R., & Henderson, W. L. (1998). Can perceivers identify likelihood to sexually harass? Sex Roles, 38, 557–588.
Eisenberg, P., & Reichline, P. B. (1939). Judging expressive movement: II. Judgments of dominance-feeling from motion pictures of gait. The Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 345–357.
Finkelhor, D., & Browne, A. (1985). The traumatic impact of child sexual abuse: A conceptualization. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 55, 530–541.
Funder, D. C., & Colvin, C. R. (1988). Friends and strangers: Acquaintanceship, agreement, and the accuracy of personality judgment. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 149–158.
Furby, L., Fischhoff, B., & Morgan, M. (1989). Judged effectiveness of common rape prevention and self-defense strategies. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 4, 44–64.
Gangestad, S. W., Simpson, J. A., DiGeronimo, K., & Biek, M. (1992). Differential accuracy in person perception across traits: Examination of a functional hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 688–698.
Gangestad, S. W., & Snyder, M. (2000). Self-monitoring: Appraisasl and reappraisal. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 530–555.
Gidycz, C. A., Coble, C. N., Latham, L., & Layman, M. J. (1993). Sexual assault experiences in adulthood and prior victimization experiences. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 17, 151–168.
Grayson, B., & Stein, M. I. (1981). Attracting assault: Victims’ nonverbal cues. Journal of Communication, 31, 68–75.
Gunns, R. E., Johnston, L., & Hudson, S. M. (2002). Victim selection and kinematics: A point-light investigation of vulnerability to attack. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 26, 129–158.
Hammond, K. R., Hursch, C. J., & Todd, F. J. (1964). Analyzing the components of clinical inference. Psychological Review, 71, 438–456.
Ickes, W., & Barnes, R. D. (1977). The role of sex and self-monitoring in unstructured dyadic interactions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 315–330.
John, O. P., & Robins, R. W. (1993). Determinants of interjudge agreement on personality traits: The Big Five domains, observability, evaluativeness, and the unique perspective of the self. Journal of Personality, 61, 521–551.
Kenny, D. A., Horner, C., Kashy, D. A., & Chu, L. (1992). Consensus at zero acquaintance: Replication, behavioral cues, and stability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, 88–97.
Kozlowski, L. T., & Cutting, J. E. (1977). Recognizing the sex of a walker from a dynamic point-light display. Perception & Psychophysics, 21, 575–580.
Lemke, M. R., Wendorff, T., Mieth, B., Buhl, K., & Linnemann, M. (2000). Spatiotemporal gait patterns during over ground locomotion in major depression compared with healthy controls. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 34, 277–283.
Lippa, R. (1978). Expressive control, expressive consistency, and the correspondence between expressive behavior and personality. Journal of Personality, 46, 438–461.
Lippa, R. A., & Dietz, J. K. (2000). The relation of gender, personality, and intelligence to judges’ accuracy in judging strangers’ personality from brief video segments. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 24, 25–43.
McArthur, L. Z., & Baron, R. M. (1983). Toward an ecological theory of social perception. Psychological Review, 90, 215–238.
Montepare, J. M., & Zebrowitz-McArthur, L. (1988). Impressions of people created by age related qualities of their gaits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 55, 547–556.
Montepare, J. M., & Zebrowitz, L. A. (1993). A cross-cultural comparison of impressions created by age-related variations in gait. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 17, 55–68.
Murzynski, J., & Degelman, D. (1996). Body language of women and judgments of vulnerability to sexual assault. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 1617–1626.
Myers, M. B., Templer, D. I., & Brown, R. (1984). Coping ability of women who become victims of rape. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52, 73–78.
Oltmanns, T. F., Friedman, J. N. W., Fiedler, E. R., & Turkheimer, E. (2004). Perceptions of people with personality disorders based on thin slices of behavior. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 216–229.
Sakaguchi, K., & Hasegawa T. (in press). Personality correlates with the frequency of being targeted for unexpected advances by strangers. Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Schmitt, D. P. et al. (2003). Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 85–104.
Shimonaka, Y., Nakazato, K., Gondo, Y., & Takayama, M. (1999). NEO-PI-R, NEO-FFI manual for the Japanese version. Tokyo: Tokyo shinri, Inc.
Simpson, J. A., & Gangestad, S. W. (1991). Individual differences in sociosexuality: Evidence for convergent and discriminant validity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 870–883.
Snyder, M., Simpson, J. A., & Gangestad, S. (1986). Personality and sexual relations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 181–190.
Walster, E., Aronson, V., Abrahams, D., & Rottmann, L. (1966). Importance of physical attractiveness in dating behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Behavior, 4, 8–516.
Watson, D. (1989). Strangers’ ratings of the five robust personality factors: Evidence of a surprising convergence with self-report. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 120–128.
White, J. W., & Smith, P. H. (2001). Developmental antecedents of violence against women: A longitudinal perspective. U. S. Department of Justice. (Document No. #98WTVX0010).
Wolff, W. (1935). Involuntary self-expression in gait and other movements: An experimental study. Character and Personality, 3, 327–344.
This research project was partly supported by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Scientific Research (C) “Gender” (No. 1611272), from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan.
The frequency distribution of women’s having been sexually approached. A: n = 451, B: n = 449 for the span of before entering high school, and n = 450 for the span of after entering high school.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Sakaguchi, K., Hasegawa, T. Person Perception through Gait Information and Target Choice for Sexual Advances: Comparison of likely Targets in Experiments and Real Life. J Nonverbal Behav 30, 63–85 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10919-006-0006-2
- Kinematic information
- Person perception
- Point-light display
- Sexual advance