Other-race and inversion effects during the structural encoding stage of face processing in a race categorization task: an event-related brain potential study.
ABSTRACT To investigate the mechanisms underlying the other-race effect, in particular at what stage of face processing differences between same-race (SR) and other-race (OR) stimuli occur, electrophysiological and behavioral data were obtained on Caucasian participants viewing photographs of Caucasian, Asian, and African faces in upright and inverted orientations. During a race categorization task, reaction times were faster for African than Asian faces, and both of them faster than Caucasian ones, independent of their orientation. The face-sensitive N170 component was low in amplitude for Caucasian, intermediate for Asian, and maximal for African faces. The face inversion effect was observed for all ethnic groups on N170 amplitudes, but was more evident for Caucasian faces. According to the perceptual expertise hypothesis, our results indicate that SR faces involve more configural/holistic processing OR faces.
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ABSTRACT: It is well established that individuals show an other-race effect (ORE) in face recognition: they recognize own-race faces better than other-race faces. The present study tested the hypothesis that individuals would also scan own- and other-race faces differently. We asked Chinese participants to remember Chinese and Caucasian faces and we tested their memory of the faces over five testing blocks. The participants' eye movements were recorded with the use of an eye tracker. The data were analyzed with an Area of Interest approach using the key AOIs of a face (eyes, nose, and mouth). Also, we used the iMap toolbox to analyze the raw data of participants' fixation on each pixel of the entire face. Results from both types of analyses strongly supported the hypothesis. When viewing target Chinese or Caucasian faces, Chinese participants spent a significantly greater proportion of fixation time on the eyes of other-race Caucasian faces than the eyes of own-race Chinese faces. In contrast, they spent a significantly greater proportion of fixation time on the nose and mouth of Chinese faces than the nose and mouth of Caucasian faces. This pattern of differential fixation, for own- and other-race eyes and nose in particular, was consistent even as participants became increasingly familiar with the target faces of both races. The results could not be explained by the perceptual salience of the Chinese nose or Caucasian eyes because these features were not differentially salient across the races. Our results are discussed in terms of the facial morphological differences between Chinese and Caucasian faces and the enculturation of mutual gaze norms in East Asian cultures.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(6):e37688. · 4.09 Impact Factor