Processes underlying the cross-race effect : An investigation of holistic, featural, and relational processing of own-race versus other-race faces

Catherine J. MONDLOCH*, Natalie ELMS, Daphne MAURER, Gillian RHODES, William G. HAYWARD, James W. TANAKAO, Guomei ZHOU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

86 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Adults are often better at recognising ownrace than other-race faces. Unlike previous studies that reported an own-race advantage after administering a single test of either holistic processing or of featural and relational processing, we used a cross-over design and multiple tasks to assess differential processing of faces from a familiar race versus a less familiar race. Caucasian and Chinese adults performed four tasks, each with Caucasian and Chinese faces. Two tasks measured holistic processing: the composite face task and the part/whole task. Both tasks indicated holistic processing of own-race and other-race faces that did not differ in degree. Two tasks measured featural and relational processing: the Jane/Ling task, in which same/ different judgments were made about face pairs that differed in features of their spacing, and the scrambled/blurred task, in which test faces were scrambled (isolates memory for components) or blurred (isolates memory for relations). Both tasks provided evidence of an own-race advantage in both featural and relational processing. We conclude that even when adults process other-race faces hohstically, other manifestations of an own-race advantage remain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1065-1085
Number of pages21
JournalPerception
Volume39
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jan 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The research was supported by an NSERC Discovery Grant to CM, an NSERC Discovery Grant to DM, a grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (HKU4653/05H) to WGH, a grant from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (30700230) to GZ, and support from the "One-hundred-programme" of Sun Yat-sen University to GZ.

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