About face: Memory for transgender versus cisgender targets' facial appearance

Natalie M. Wittlin, John F. Dovidio, Marianne LaFrance, Sara E. Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In five studies, we explored how expectations and memory for a target's facial appearance vary as a function of whether that face is said to belong to a transgender or cisgender (i.e., non-transgender) individual. Participants in each study were randomly assigned to either a transgender or a cisgender target. In Study 1, participants indicated how feminine and masculine they expected the target to look. In Study 2, participants were shown an image of the target's face (which was androgynous in all conditions) and asked to rate how feminine and masculine the face appeared. In Studies 3, 4, and 5, participants were shown the same image of the target's face and later instructed to identify it from an array of faces. Results from these studies revealed that supposedly cisgender targets' faces are expected to look, evaluated, and remembered as more gender congruent than supposedly transgender targets' faces. Potential implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-92
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Categorization
  • Face memory
  • Memory distortions
  • Misgendering
  • Person perception
  • Prejudice
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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