September 2019
Volume 19, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2019
Perceptual Experience and Within-Person Variability Affect the Magnitude of the Other-Race Effect
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Xiaomei Zhou
    Department of Psychology, Ryerson University
  • Chun-Man Chen
    The Institution of Neural and Cognitive Science, China Medical University
  • Catherine J. Mondloch
    Department of Psychology, Brock University
  • Sarina Hui-Lin Chien
    The Institution of Neural and Cognitive Science, China Medical University
  • Margaret Moulson
    Department of Psychology, Ryerson University
Journal of Vision September 2019, Vol.19, 153c. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.153c
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      Xiaomei Zhou, Chun-Man Chen, Catherine J. Mondloch, Sarina Hui-Lin Chien, Margaret Moulson; Perceptual Experience and Within-Person Variability Affect the Magnitude of the Other-Race Effect. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):153c. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.153c.

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

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Abstract

Adults show an other-race effect (ORE): impaired recognition of other-versus own-race faces1. The ORE manifests as a difficulty recognizing other-race faces across variability in appearance, likely due to asymmetric experience with own- and other-race faces2,3. No study has systematically investigated how the ability to form stable facial representations changes as a function of differential exposure to own- and other-race faces. In Experiment 1, using the Cambridge Face Memory Task (CFMT)4,5, we tested 3 groups of adults (n=132): White and East Asian (EA) adults born and raised in Toronto (highly diverse), and EAs who were born in China and immigrated to Toronto. Whereas White adults and EA immigrants demonstrated a reliable ORE, ps < .005, EAs born in Toronto showed no ORE, p > .080. Notably, age of arrival predicted the magnitude of the ORE (B = .006, p=.001, R2 = 0.23), suggesting that early experience is more effective in reducing the ORE. In Experiment 2, we developed a new version of the CFMT, with face images that capture extensive natural variability in appearance. We tested five adult groups (projected n=120; currently n=71): the three aforementioned groups plus White adults raised in a majority White city in Canada and EAs raised in a majority EA city in Taiwan. We predict that the ORE might be greater in Exp.2 than in Exp.1, highlighting the challenge of forming stable representations of other-race faces. Additionally, the magnitude of the ORE might present a ‘U’ shape: Largest in groups who sit on the end of experience distribution (high own-race and low other-race contact), and smaller in groups in diverse environments or with early exposure to other-race faces. These experiments provide evidence about how perceptual experience shapes adults’ ability to build stable face representations, and highlight the importance of early experience in shaping the ORE.

Acknowledgement: NSERC 
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