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Tobiasz Trawinski, Araz Aslanian, Olivia S. Cheung; The Effect of Implicit Racial Bias on Recognition of Own- and Other-Race Faces. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1701. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1701.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research has established a possible link between recognition performance, individuation experience, and implicit racial bias of other-race faces. However, it remains unclear how implicit racial bias might influence other-race face processing in observers with relatively extensive individuation experience with the other race. Here we examined how recognition of own- and other-race faces might be modulated by observers’ face recognition ability, individuation experience, and implicit racial bias. Caucasian participants (N=53) completed a memory task for Caucasian and Asian faces, an implicit association test, a questionnaire on individuation experience towards Caucasians and Asians, and a face recognition ability test. Perhaps surprisingly, overall the Caucasian participants showed significantly better recognition performance for other- than own-race faces. More importantly, while the memory performance for own-race faces was only positively predicted by increased face recognition ability, the recognition performance for other-race faces were positively predicted by increased face recognition ability, individuation experience with Asians, and negatively predicted by increased positive bias towards Asians, which was modulated by an interaction between face recognition ability and implicit bias, with the effect of implicit bias observed predominantly in observers with high face recognition ability. Moreover, while no significant modulation of implicit bias was observed in eye movements on the other-race faces during the memory task, we found significant differences among the locations of the first three fixations when participants learned the own- vs. other-race faces, with a tendency of focusing on the upper face parts for other- than own-race faces, which might be related to the better overall performance for other- than own-race faces. Taken together, these findings suggest the complexity in understanding the perceptual and socio-cognitive influences on the other-race effect, and that observers with high face recognition ability may more likely to allocate spare cognitive resources involuntarily to evaluate racial factors when recognizing other-race faces.
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