Perceiving threat in others: The role of body morphology.

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Date: Apr. 8, 2021
From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 4)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 10,852 words
Lexile Measure: 1510L

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Abstract :

People make judgments of others based on appearance, and these inferences can affect social interactions. Although the importance of facial appearance in these judgments is well established, the impact of the body morphology remains unclear. Specifically, it is unknown whether experimentally varied body morphology has an impact on perception of threat in others. In two preregistered experiments (N = 250), participants made judgments of perceived threat of body stimuli of varying morphology, both in the absence (Experiment 1) and presence (Experiment 2) of facial information. Bodies were perceived as more threatening as they increased in mass with added musculature and portliness, and less threatening as they increased in emaciation. The impact of musculature endured even in the presence of faces, although faces contributed more to the overall threat judgment. The relative contributions of the faces and bodies seemed to be driven by discordance, such that threatening faces exerted the most influence when paired with non-threatening bodies, and vice versa. This suggests that the faces and bodies were not perceived as entirely independent and separate components. Overall, these findings suggest that body morphology plays an important role in perceived threat and may bias real-world judgments.

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A657819728