Race Categorization Modulates Holistic Face Encoding
Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010
2007 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 31, Issue 5, pages 911–924, September-October 2007
How to Cite
Michel, C., Corneille, O. and Rossion, B. (2007), Race Categorization Modulates Holistic Face Encoding. Cognitive Science, 31: 911–924. doi: 10.1080/03640210701530805
- Issue published online: 10 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 10 FEB 2010
- Received 12 June 2006; received in revised form 5 February 2007; accepted 5 March 2007
- Face recognition;
- Other-race effect;
- Holistic processing;
- Race categorization
Recent studies have shown that same-race (SR) faces are processed more holistically than other-race (OR) faces, a difference that may underlie the greater difficulty at recognizing OR than SR faces (the “other-race effect”). This article provides original evidence suggesting that the holistic processing of faces may be sensitive to the observers' racial categorization of the face. In Experiment 1, Caucasian participants performed a face-composite task with Caucasian faces, Asian faces, and racially ambiguous morphed face stimuli. Identical morphed face stimuli were processed more holistically when categorized as SR than as OR faces. Experiment 2 further suggests that this finding was not underlain by strategic or training effects. Overall, these results support the view that one's categorization of a face as belonging to the same or another race plays a critical role in the holistic processing of this face.