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Yavin Alwis, Lisa Hsi, Jason Haberman; Individuals with low other race effect employ a global eye movement strategy when recognizing other race faces.. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):216b. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.216b.
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The Other Race Effect (ORE) is a well-established phenomenon in which individuals better recognize and recall same-race faces over other-race faces. Both sociocognitive and perceptual theories have been proposed to explain the mechanisms of the ORE. One recent perceptual theory involves the face-space model, in which differences in featural processing strategies exist depending on the race of the face being viewed. Specific processing strategies may be revealed by monitoring an individual’s eye movements while viewing a face. While different-race faces may be more effectively identified by employing race specific eye movement patterns, observers who demonstrate a strong ORE are non-optimal in their deployment strategies, and instead reveal similar eye movement patterns across different races. The current experiments used an individual differences approach to explore whether individuals who demonstrate a reduced ORE deploy race specific eye movements (what one might predict as optimal), or whether they use a more generalized, global strategy. To determine the extent of one’s ORE, participants completed a face learning and recognition task using faces across three races. Eyetracking was used during the recognition task to measure eye deployment patterns and first fixation locations. Overall, eye movement patterns elicited by individuals with low ORE were highly consistent across the three races. This suggests that, although there are optimal recognition strategies specific to different-race faces, low ORE participants did not necessarily rely upon them. Despite this, their performance in recognizing other-race faces remained as good as it was for their own-race faces. These results suggest that low ORE participants employ a more global strategy when viewing other-race faces.
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