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Sarah Williams, Alesha Bond, Corey Bohil, Heather Kleider-Offutt; Modeling face-type and threat: Biased decision making in expression interpretation. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1011. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1011.
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Prior research indicates stereotypical Black faces (e.g., wide nose, full lips) are often associated with crime and violence (Kleider, Cavrak, & Knuycky, 2012). In the current study, we investigated whether a stereotypical face may bias the interpretation of facial expression. Specifically, would stereotypical faces be judged as threatening? Faces were pre-rated in a separate study for level of stereotypicality and expression, and then divided into four categories: stereotypicality (high, low) and expression (neutral, threatening). We applied decision-bound theoretic analysis to explore perceptual and decisional interactions between the two dimensions. We found evidence for integration of perceptual dimensions. Stereotypical faces tended to be seen as more threatening than non-stereotypical faces. This was true for images depicting a neutral expression as well as for images displaying a threatening expression. This pattern held across participant gender and ethnicity. Overall results suggest that stereotypical faces are interpreted as threatening relative to non-stereotypical faces.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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