Thursday, February 23, 2017

Recognizing Faces, 7

The difficulty in recognizing faces on your own-race effect verses other races seems to be related to increased ability to extract information about the spatial relationships between different facial features. Daniel T. Levin has reportedly explained it this way: a deficit occurs when viewing people of another race because visual information specifying race takes up mental attention at the expense of individuating information when recognizing faces of other races. It will be interesting if further research using perceptual tasks can shed light on the specific cognitive processes involved in the other-race effect. Studies in 2007 led by Bernstein, found that the own-race effect likely extends beyond racial membership into concepts of in-group versus out-group. For example, research showed that categorizing somebody by the university he or she attends showed similar results compared to studies about the own-race effect. Hugenberg, Miller, and Claypool (2007) performed a study in which they introduced people to the concept of the own-race effect before presenting them with a series of differing faces. If study participants were made aware of the own-race effect prior to the experiment, the study participants showed significantly less if any own-race effect. To me, this sounds like ‘knowledge is power,’ which can enable individuals to alter their perceptions if they choose to do so.

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