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Hongchuan Zhang, Liezhong Ge, Zhe Wang, David Kelly, Paul Quinn, Alan Slater, Olivier Pascalis, Kang Lee; Two faces of the other-race effect: Recognition and categorization of Caucasians and Chinese Faces. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):257. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/8.6.257.
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The other-race effect is a collection of phenomena referring to the difference in processing faces from one's own race or other races. A plethora of research has found a disadvantage in recognition of other-race faces, which should be referred to more precisely as the other-race recognition effect (for a review, see Meissner & Brigham, 2001). Paradoxically, when categorized by the race other-race faces exhibit an advantage in reaction time, which should be referred to as the other-race categorization effect (e.g. Valentine & Endo, 1992; Levin, 1996, 2000). This mirror pattern for other-race faces processed in different tasks has only been investigated in separate studies, with significant differences in their participants, stimuli, and experimental designs. To address this question, in the present study we used a uniform, balanced design to examine the two other-race effects in Caucasian and Chinese subjects. Participants were asked to either recognize 32 learned faces mixed with 32 unlearned faces, or to make a race judgment to another 64 faces. The faces are selected from one face base, with equal chance to appear as learned or unlearned in the recognition or in the categorization task. The stimulus presentation and response are kept the same between tasks. In line with previous reports, in both groups other-race faces were less accurately and slower recognized whereas faster categorized by race. Furthermore, a significant positive correlation between the sizes of the two effects was found across participants with a hierarchical regression model, after controlling for the difference in overall reaction time. The present results suggest that the other-race recognition and categorization effects may share a similar underlying processing mechanism as suggested by Levin (1996). Also, both categorization and individuation are perhaps two integral processes involved in face processing, consistent with the view of the in-group/out-group model (Sporer, 2001).
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