July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Individual differences in holistic processing predict the own-race advantage in recognition memory
Author Affiliations
  • Andrew Rosenblatt
    Boston Attention and Learning Lab (BALLAB), VA Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain, MA, United States
  • Rogelio J. Mercado
    Department of Psychology, Temple University
  • Jeremy Wilmer
    Department of Psychology, Wellesley College
  • Joseph DeGutis
    Boston Attention and Learning Lab (BALLAB), VA Boston Healthcare System, Jamaica Plain, MA, United States\nVision Sciences Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Harvard University
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 864. doi:10.1167/13.9.864
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      Andrew Rosenblatt, Rogelio J. Mercado, Jeremy Wilmer, Joseph DeGutis; Individual differences in holistic processing predict the own-race advantage in recognition memory. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):864. doi: 10.1167/13.9.864.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Individuals are consistently better at recognizing own-race faces compared to other-race faces (other-race effect, ORE). One popular hypothesis is that this recognition memory ORE is caused by differential own- and other-race holistic processing, the simultaneous integration of part and configural face information into a coherent whole. Holistic processing may create a more rich, detailed memory representation of own-race faces compared to other-race faces. Despite several studies showing that own-race faces are processed more holistically than other-race faces, studies have yet to firmly link the holistic processing ORE (HP-ORE) with the recognition memory ORE (RM-ORE). With the participation of 53 Caucasian individuals (mean age of 24.91 years), the current study demonstrates such a linkage by using validated measures of holistic face processing (Caucasian and Asian part-whole tasks) and face recognition (Caucasian and Asian Cambridge Face Memory Tests) and employing a regression-based approach that enables fine-grained parsing of individual differences in these OREs. This analytic approach allows us to separately examine (a) own-race-specific performance, statistically equating other-race performance across individuals, and (b) other-race-specific performance, statistically equating own-race-specific performance across individuals. Using this approach, we found an association between HP-ORE and RM-ORE that was largely specific to own-race performance, thereby linking own-race-specific holistic processing mechanisms to the RM-ORE. We also demonstrated that own-race performance across all of our tasks correlated highly with other-race performance, suggesting that the mechanisms used for own- and other-race face processing are mostly shared. We also replicate previous findings that own-race faces are processed more holistically than other-race faces, and show that this is specific to the eye region. Together, these results suggest that while own- and other-race faces recruit largely similar mechanisms, own-race faces more thoroughly engage holistic processing, and moreover, those individuals who preferentially engage holistic processing mechanisms for own-race faces show an own-race-face-specific recognition advantage.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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