August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Adults Scan Own- and Other-Race Faces Differently
Author Affiliations
  • Kang Lee
    Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto\nDept. of Psychology, University of California, San Diego
  • Genyyue Fu
    School of Education, Zhejiang Normal University
  • Cao Hu
    School of Education, Zhejiang Normal University
  • Paul Quinn
    Dept. of Psychology, University of Delaware
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 986. doi:
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      Kang Lee, Genyyue Fu, Cao Hu, Paul Quinn; Adults Scan Own- and Other-Race Faces Differently. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):986.

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

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It is well established that individuals show an other-race effect (ORE) in face recognition: they recognize own-race faces better than other-race faces. The present study tested the hypothesis that individuals would also scan own- and other-race faces differently. We asked Chinese participants to remember Chinese and Caucasian faces and we tested their memory of the faces over five testing blocks. The participants' eye movements were recorded with the use of an eye tracker. The data were analyzed with the use of the Area of Interest approach with the key AOIs of a face (eyes, nose, and mouth). Also, we used the iMap toolbox to analyze the raw data of participants’ fixation on each pixel of the entire face. Results from both types of analyses strongly supported the hypothesis. When viewing target Chinese or Caucasian faces, Chinese participants spent a significantly greater proportion of fixation time on the eyes of other-race Caucasian faces than the eyes of own-race Chinese faces. In contrast, they spent a significantly greater proportion of fixation time on the nose and mouth of Chinese faces than the nose and mouth of Caucasian faces. This pattern of differential fixation, for own- and other-race eyes and nose in particular, was consistent even as participants became increasingly familiar with the target faces of both races. The results could not be explained by the perceptual salience of the Chinese nose or Caucasian eyes because both the Chinese and Caucasian eyes were equally salient and their noses were equally not salient. Our results are discussed in terms of the facial morphological differences between Chinese and Caucasian faces and the enculturation of mutual gaze norms in East Asian cultures.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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