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Regine Armann, Linda Jeffery, Andrew J. Calder, Isabelle Bülthoff, Gillian Rhodes; Race-specific norms for coding face identity and a functional role for norms. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):706. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.7.706.
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High-level perceptual aftereffects have revealed that faces are coded relative to norms that are dynamically updated by experience. The nature of these norms and the advantage of such a norm-based representation, however, are not yet fully understood. Here, we used adaptation techniques to get insight into the perception of faces of different race categories. We measured identity aftereffects for adapt-test pairs that were opposite a race-specific average and pairs that were opposite a ‘generic’ average, made by morphing together Asian and Caucasian faces. Aftereffects were larger following exposure to anti-faces that were created relative to the race-specific (Asian and Caucasian) averages than to anti-faces created using the mixed-race average. Since adapt-test pairs that lie opposite to each other in face space generate larger identity aftereffects than non-opposite test pairs, these results suggest that Asian and Caucasian faces are coded using race-specific norms. We also found that identification thresholds were lower when targets were distributed around the race-specific norms than around the mixed-race norm, which is also consistent with a functional role for race-specific norms.
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