December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
Early automatic processes shape other-race effects for faces
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Justin Duncan
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
    Université de Fribourg
  • Chloé Galinier
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Caroline Blais
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Daniel Fiset
    Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • Roberto Caldara
    Université de Fribourg
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada 7032262 (JD); Canada Research Chair in Cognitive and Social Vision 950-232282 (CB); Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (DF); Swiss National Science Foundation 100019_189018 (RC)
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3648. doi:
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      Justin Duncan, Chloé Galinier, Caroline Blais, Daniel Fiset, Roberto Caldara; Early automatic processes shape other-race effects for faces. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3648.

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

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The other-race effect (ORE) was initially coined to illustrate how familiarity with a given race modulates face recognition efficiency. In contemporary research, however, other-race effects consist in both a recognition disadvantage and race categorization advantage for other- compared to own-race faces. While perceptual and social factors have been considered to explain OREs, attentional factors are considered secondary and remain poorly understood. Drawing from central attention theory, we addressed the issue using a psychological refractory period (PRP) dual task paradigm. Sixty White participants were recruited and assigned to one of two dual task experiments (30 per group). Task 1 (T1) always consisted of a difficult tone categorization. Task 2 (T2) could consist of Eastern-Asian (EA) and White race categorization (Experiment 1), or delayed match-to-sample recognition of EA and White faces (Experiment 2). Stimulus onset asynchrony (150, 300, 600 or 1200ms) was manipulated to modulate T1-T2 overlap and interference, inducing a PRP effect, i.e., a slowing of T2 response times with overlap increase. T2 difficulty was modulated by morphing stimuli into unambiguous (100% signal) and ambiguous (60% signal, 40% noise) versions along the relevant axis (Exp 1: race; Exp 2: identity). As expected, increasing task overlap and difficulty slowed responses across the board. However, there were task- and race-mediated interactions. For categorization of EA but not White faces, the effect of difficulty decreased with overlap increase. The pattern was reversed for recognition, as the effect of difficulty decreased with overlap for White but not EA faces. According to the locus of slack framework, these results reflect automatization for other-race categorization and own-race recognition, and requirement of central (i.e., controlled) processing for own-race categorization and other-race recognition. These findings highlight a critical, fast, and fine-grained attentional interplay modulating face processing as a function of race: Attention plays a primary role shaping other-race effects.


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