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Xiaomei Zhou, Catherine Mondloch, Stephen Emrich; The Own-Race Recognition Advantage is Attributable to Visual Working Memory: Evidence from a continuous-response paradigm. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):919. doi: 10.1167/16.12.919.
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Considerable research examining the other-race effect (e.g., better recognition of own-race than other-race faces) has proposed that impaired recognition of other-race faces can be attributed to the inefficient storage and retrieval of other-race face representations from memory. However, little is known about the precision with which own- versus other-race faces are mentally represented in visual working memory (VWM). To address the question, we used a continuous-response paradigm and a mixture model to independently measure the precision (sd) and number of own-and other-race face representations stored in VWM. We created a set of Caucasian and Asian face stimuli by morphing between all possible pairings of four Caucasian and four Asian identities. In the experiment, two morphed faces, cued by different colors, were presented for 1500 ms and followed by a 900 ms delay. Participants then were instructed to recall one of the two faces (i.e., target face cued by a specific color) from memory by clicking the target face from a "face wheel", comprising four anchor faces and a morphed continuum between adjacent pairs (e.g., A-B; B-C; C-D; D-A). Based on the mixture-model analysis, the number of other-race face representations correctly reported (M = 57.4%) was reduced compared to that of own-race faces (M = 77.9%). However, the precision of those representations was comparable for own- and other-race faces (Msd = 35.40 and 33.23, respectively), as was the probability of incorrectly selecting the non-target face (discrimination error) (Me = 0.19% vs. 0.17%, for own- and other-race faces, respectively). The current study provides direct evidence of a fundamental difference in how own- and other-race faces are represented in visual working memory and highlights the functional role of perceptual experience in shaping such representations.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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