Gender Moderates the Relationship Between Emotion and Perceived Gaze

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Abstract

Recent evidence shows that gender modulates the morphology of facial expressions and might thus alter the meaning of those expressions. Consequently, we hypothesized that gender would moderate the relationship between facial expressions and the perception of direct gaze. In Study 1, participants viewed male and female faces exhibiting joy, anger, fear, and neutral expressions displayed with direct and averted gazes. Perceptions of direct gaze were most likely for male faces expressing anger or joy and for female faces expressing joy. Study 2 established that these results were due to facial morphology and not to gender stereotypes. Thus, the morphology of male and female faces amplifies or constrains emotional signals and accordingly alters gaze perception.

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