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Guomei Zhou, Zhijie Cheng, Zhenzhu Yue; Own-race faces capture more attention than other race faces: Evidence from response time and N2pc. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1351. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1351.
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Plenty of studies have shown that people are better able to recognize the faces of people from their own race than the faces of people from other races. Some researchers explain the so-called own-race advantage (ORA) in terms of categorization versus individuation (Sporer, 2001; Hugenberg, Young, Bernstein, & Sacco, 2010). Perceivers only encode the category information of the out-group members without further processing; while processing the detailed individual facial features of in-group members. The categorization tendency to other-race faces was supported by a race search task of Levin (1996, 2000) which found that White participants detected Black face among White faces faster than detected White face among Black faces. In the present study, we used a human search task, which rules out the influence of categorization and individuation, to investigate whether ORA occurred in attention. Participants’ task was to search a human face among animal faces. Experiment 1 showed a classic searching asymmetry effect with an ORA in response time (RT). Experiment 2 recorded event-related potentials, and replicated the ORA in response time and extended the results to inverted faces. We also found a larger N2pc wave evoked by own-race faces than other-race faces. Moreover, there was a significant positive relation between N2pc and RT. Faster detection of own-race faces was observed with larger N2pc waveform. These results suggested an own-race attentional capture advantage, providing evidence for an attentional account for ORA.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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