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Andrea Wheeler, Gizelle Anzures, Paul Quinn, Olivier Pascalis, Alan Slater, Kang Lee; Differences in Own- and Other-race Face Scanning in Infants. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):538. doi: 10.1167/10.7.538.
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The other-race effect has been found to exist in both adults (Meissner & Brigham, 2001) and infants (Kelly et al., 2007). It is most often described in terms of discrimination abilities and manifests itself as an own-race recognition advantage. While recognition advantages for own-race faces have been found as early as 3 months (Sangrigoli & de Schonen, 2004), what remains unclear is whether different attentional patterns can be detected during the scanning of own- versus other-race faces in infancy. The present study investigated whether infants viewing own- and other-race faces displayed differential scanning and fixation patterns that may contribute to the previously reported own-race recognition advantage.
Participants were Caucasian infants (n =22) aged 6 to 10 months (M = 8.5 months). Infants were presented with two videos on a Tobii Eye-Tracking screen while their fixations and scanning patterns were recorded. Each video contained the face of an adult female talking directly into the camera against a neutral background for a duration of 30 seconds. The identity of the face and the order of the presentations were counterbalanced and randomized across participants. Data was analyzed by comparing the proportion of infant' fixations to the different facial features across conditions (races).
An analysis of variance (with results to date) revealed a significant interaction between race and feature, in that infants looked significantly longer at the eyes of the own-race faces as compared to the other-race faces, p <0.5. A significant 3- way interaction of race by feature by age was also found, in that older infants looked significantly more at other-race mouths compared to own-race mouths, p <0.001. The present results contribute to the understanding of the underlying perceptual processes that may influence recognition differences for the processing of own- and other-race faces.
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