Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Recognizing Faces, 6

In general, humans find it easier to recognize faces within one’s own race. That is, humans tend to perceive people of other races than their own to all look alike. As early as 1914 researchers were studying differences in own-race recognition versus other-race recognition. Other things being equal, individuals of a given race are distinguishable from each other in proportion to one’s familiarity and contact with the race as whole. To the uninitiated Caucasian, all Asians look alike; to the uninitiated Asian, most native Americans or African Americans or Caucasians look alike. This phenomenon is known by several names: cross-race effect, own-race effect, other-race effect, own race bias, interracial-face-recognition-deficit, and so on. This cross-race effect seems to appear around six months of age in human beings. Interesting, researchers have found it can be altered in early childhood through adulthood through interaction with people of other races. More tomorrow.

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