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C. Michel, O. Corneille, B. Rossion; Categorization of face race modulates holistic face processing. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):435. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/6.6.435.
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Using the face-composite illusion (the extent to which the recognition of the upper part of a ‘composite face’ is disrupted by the - to be ignored — lower part; Young et al., 1987) in Asian and Caucasian subjects, we have recently shown that same-race (SR) faces are perceived more holistically than other-race (OR) faces (Michel et al., in press, Psychological Science).
Here we tested the hypothesis that this differential holistic processing of SR and OR faces could be due to a modulation of holistic face processing by the race-categorization of the face.
We measured the face-composite illusion on a set of ‘ambiguous-race’ faces in 50 Caucasian subjects. These faces were created by morphing Asian and Caucasian faces and extracting the stimuli categorized equally often as Asian and Caucasian by Caucasian subjects (N=34). These stimuli were inserted in blocks of original Asian (group 1) or Caucasian (group 2) faces. As expected, the composite illusion was larger for SR than for OR faces on these original faces, replicating our previous observations. Most importantly, the same ‘ambiguous-race’ face stimuli were processed less holistically when they were included in Asian blocks (considered therefore as Asians) than when presented in Caucasian blocks (therefore considered as Caucasians).
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