We evaluate claims that the other-race effect in face memory reflects stronger holistic coding of own-race than other-race faces. Considering evidence from a range of paradigms, including the inversion effect, part-whole effect, composite effect, and the scrambled/blurred task, we find considerable inconsistency, both between paradigms and between participant ethnicities. At the same time, however, studies that isolate configural and component feature processing consistently show better featural, as well as better configural, processing of own-race faces, for both Caucasian and Asian participants. These results raise the possibility that the key feature of own-race face processing is not stronger holistic processing per se, but rather more effective processing of all types of face information (featural as well as holistic).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and Its Disorders (CE110001021), a grant from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council to WGH (HKU744911), an ARC Professorial Fellowship to GR (DP0877379), and an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award to GR (DP130102300).
- Featural processing
- Holistic processing
- Other-race effect