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Social Categorization in Spatial Context

Past research has revealed that physical closeness of visual stimuli can cause perceivers to infer group membership shared between those stimuli. Alternatively, contrast effects can also occur when multiple stimuli are presented together. To our knowledge, no previous studies have manipulated distance to test these hypotheses for the categorization of ambiguously gendered faces. This study aims to characterize the categorization of ambiguous faces when presented at varying distances from either stereotypically feminine or stereotypically masculine faces to identify a component of gender-group processing. We pose two competing hypotheses: (1) close proximity between faces will elicit a contrast effect, in which perceivers judge ambiguous faces to belong to the binary opposite gender category or (2) close proximity will cause an assimilation effect between the gender-stereotypic face and an ambiguous face.

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