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Covariation in the recognition of own-race and other-race faces argues against the role of group bias in the other race effect

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JournalScientific reports
DateAccepted/In press - 25 Jul 2022
DatePublished (current) - 29 Jul 2022
Issue number1
Volume12
Number of pages12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

A dominant theory of the other race effect (ORE) is that group-bias causes us to process own-race and other-race faces using different cognitive processes. To test this theory, we measured individual differences across two face recognition tasks. Our predictions were that the magnitude and pattern of performance on own-race faces would not predict performance on other-race faces and that participants would take more time with own-race faces. In a face matching task, we found that participants were more accurate with own-race faces compared to other-race faces. However, performance on own-race faces was highly correlated with performance on other-race faces. In a face sorting task, participants made fewer piles and fewer errors (i.e. higher accuracy) with own-race faces compared to other-race faces. However, we again found that performance on own-race faces was highly correlated with performance on other-race faces. The covariation in performance between own-race and other-race faces suggests that they engage similar perceptual processes. Finally, we found that participants did not spend more time on tasks involving own-race faces suggesting that different levels of motivation do not explain the ORE. Together, these findings argue against the idea that group bias leads to different perceptual processing of own-race and other-race faces.

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© 2022. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Bias, Face, Facial Recognition, Humans, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Recognition, Psychology

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