Gender Differences in Perception of Self-Orientation: Software or Hardware?
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We evaluated the contribution of attentional strategy to the perception of self-orientation with and without a body tilt in the median plane. Reinking et al (1974 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 30 807-811) found that the frame dependence of females on the rod-and-frame test could be mediated by instructions prompting them to focus on internal cues (ie arising from inside of the body). Here, we measured the influence of attentional instructions on the perception of the morphological horizon. Eleven females and thirteen males estimated their morphological horizon in an upright and a 45 degrees body tilt in the median plane under three instruction conditions. All participants first performed without attentional instructions. Then, participants performed under both internal and external attentional instructions. For females, but not for males, perception of morphological horizon was more footward in the supine than in the upright orientation. Although instructions did not eliminate gender differences, internal instructions allowed females to reduce their perceptual bias in the supine orientation.
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