Same Face May Look Male or Female, Depending on Where It Appears in a Person’s Field of View

Subjects in the study were shown computer-generated faces that ranged along a spectrum from very male to very female. (Credit: Image courtesy of Arash Afraz)

Neuroscientists at MIT and Harvard have made the surprising discovery that the brain sees some faces as male when they appear in one area of a person’s field of view, but female when they appear in a different location.

The findings challenge a longstanding tenet of neuroscience — that how the brain sees an object should not depend on where the object is located relative to the observer, says Arash Afraz, a postdoctoral associate at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research and lead author of a new paper on the work.

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