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You can tell by the nose - judging sex from an isolated facial feature.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • E. P. Chronicle
  • M.-Y. Chan
  • C. Hawkings
  • K. Mason
  • K. Smethurst
  • K. Stallybrass
  • K. Westrope
  • Kate Wright
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1995
Issue number8
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)969-973
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Measurements taken from the nose are among the most important physical variables which discriminate statistically between male and female faces, yet several investigators have claimed that it is difficult to judge sex on the basis of noses presented in isolation. Previous work on the isolated nose has, however, involved the use of frontal views only, which may have obscured important physical differences between the noses of males and females. An investigation of the accuracy of judgments of the sex of isolated noses observed in frontal, profile, and three-quarter views by male and female subjects is reported. Judgment of sex was performed significantly more accurately than chance in all cases except for frontal views of female noses, where judgment was significantly less accurate than chance. Analysis of variance demonstrated a significant interaction of sex of nose and view of nose, such that male noses were identified better in frontal and in profile views, but female noses better in the three-quarter view. It is suggested that one possible reason for the seemingly contradictory role of the nose in previous studies of sex judgment is that all noses look more male in frontal views. For a nose to be perceived as female, its distinctive shape must be made available to the perceiver; this is most likely from the three-quarter view.