Race-contingent aftereffects suggest distinct perceptual norms for different race faces

Emma JAQUET*, Gillian RHODES, William HAYWARD

*Corresponding author for this work

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

88 Citations (Scopus)


Faces of one's own race and of other races are thought to be located in different regions of face space (Valentine, 1991). Here we investigated whether faces of different races (Caucasian and Chinese faces) have dissociable neural coding and distinct norms. We used adaptation techniques to alter perceptions of normality (aftereffects) for faces. Caucasian and Chinese participants adapted to distorted faces of one race (e.g., Chinese contracted faces-Experiment 1), or oppositely distorted faces of both races (e.g., Chinese contracted and Caucasian expanded faces-Experiment 2). We then tested for aftereffects in Chinese and Caucasian test faces. In Experiment 1 aftereffects were reduced when a change in race between the adapt faces and test faces occurred. In Experiment 2 aftereffects occurred in opposite directions for the two races. These results demonstrate that dissociable neural populations code faces of different races and suggest the existence of race-specific face norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-753
Number of pages20
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number6
Early online date24 Jun 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Award to Emma Jaquet, an Australian Research Council grant to Gillian Rhodes, and a grant (Project No. HKU 4653/05H) from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council to William Hayward. Thanks to Keung-Tat Lee for data collection in Hong Kong.


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