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Mengzhu Fu, Matthew G Rhodes, Michael D Dodd; Examining whether eye movement behavior contributes to in-group bias in memory. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):126a. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.126a.
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Extensive research has shown that individuals often exhibit enhanced attention to—and memory for—in-group members relative to outgroup members, even in cases where group membership is randomly defined. There is mixed evidence, however, regarding whether differences in eye movement patterns and visual processing contribute to these behavioral differences. Eye movement patterns have been shown to influence memory for other race-faces (McDonnell et al., 2014) and perception of ambiguous emotions (Neta et al., 2017) but it is unclear whether similar pattern contribute to other types of in-group bias. In the present study, we examined eye movements differences for in-group and out-group members as a function of political affiliation (E1) and age (E2). Participants (college students) encoded images of individuals who were college-aged or elderly, with the background color of each image (red or blue) denoting the target’s political temperament. Eye movements were recorded during both encoding and recognition and participants later completed a series of questionnaires assessing their own political temperament. Behaviorally, there is evidence of in-group bias as participants exhibit better memory for those in their in-group. There were only minor differences, however, in visual behavior that linked to memory performance as scanpaths and kinematic measures were highly similar. These results suggest that while eye movement patterns may help to differentiate between when behavioral differences occur, overall, visual processing stays relative stable and does not necessarily change as a function of in-group bias.
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