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    Race coding and the other-race effect in face recognition

    Rhodes, G and Locke, V. and Ewing, Louise and Evangelista, E. (2009) Race coding and the other-race effect in face recognition. Perception 38 (2), pp. 232-241. ISSN 0301-0066.

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    Other-race faces are generally recognised more poorly than own-race faces. According to Levin's influential race-coding hypothesis, this other-race recognition deficit results from spontaneous coding of race-specifying information, at the expense of individuating information, in other-race faces. Therefore, requiring participants to code race-specifying information for all faces should eliminate the other-race effect by reducing recognition of own-race faces to the level of other-race faces. We tested this prediction in two experiments. Race coding was induced by requiring participants to rate study faces on race typicality (experiment 1) or to categorise them by race (experiment 2). Neither manipulation reduced the other-race effect, providing no support for the race-coding hypothesis. Instead, race-coding instructions marginally increased the other-race effect in experiment 1 and had no effect in experiment 2. These results do not support the race-coding hypothesis. Surprisingly, a control task of rating the attractiveness of study faces increased the other-race effect, indicating that deeper encoding of faces does not necessarily reduce the effect (experiment 1). Finally, the normally robust other-race effect was absent when participants were instructed to individuate other-race faces (experiment 2). We suggest that poorer recognition of other-race faces may reflect reduced perceptual expertise with such faces and perhaps reduced motivation to individuate them.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2016 15:57
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:21


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