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Soc Neurosci. 2012;7(2):202-16. doi: 10.1080/17470919.2011.596946. Epub 2011 Jul 26.

Through the eyes of the own-race bias: eye-tracking and pupillometry during face recognition.

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Center for the Study of Human Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


People are generally better at remembering faces of their own race than faces of a different race, and this effect is known as the own-race bias (ORB) effect. We used eye-tracking and pupillometry to investigate whether Caucasian and Asian face stimuli elicited different-looking patterns in Caucasian participants in a face-memory task. Consistent with the ORB effect, we found better recognition performance for own-race faces than other-race faces, and shorter response times. In addition, at encoding, eye movements and pupillary responses to Asian faces (i.e., the other race) were different from those to Caucasian faces (i.e., the own race). Processing of own-race faces was characterized by more active scanning, with a larger number of shorter fixations, and more frequent saccades. Moreover, pupillary diameters were larger when viewing other-race than own-race faces, suggesting a greater cognitive effort when encoding other-race faces.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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