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The other-race effect and holistic processing across racial groups.

Wong, H.K., Estudillo, A.J., Stephen, I.D. and Keeble, D.R.T., 2021. The other-race effect and holistic processing across racial groups. Scientific Reports, 11 (1), 8507.

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s41598-021-87933-1.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-87933-1


It is widely accepted that holistic processing is important for face perception. However, it remains unclear whether the other-race effect (ORE) (i.e. superior recognition for own-race faces) arises from reduced holistic processing of other-race faces. To address this issue, we adopted a cross-cultural design where Malaysian Chinese, African, European Caucasian and Australian Caucasian participants performed four different tasks: (1) yes-no face recognition, (2) composite, (3) whole-part and (4) global-local tasks. Each face task was completed with unfamiliar own- and other-race faces. Results showed a pronounced ORE in the face recognition task. Both composite-face and whole-part effects were found; however, these holistic effects did not appear to be stronger for other-race faces than for own-race faces. In the global-local task, Malaysian Chinese and African participants demonstrated a stronger global processing bias compared to both European- and Australian-Caucasian participants. Importantly, we found little or no cross-task correlation between any of the holistic processing measures and face recognition ability. Overall, our findings cast doubt on the prevailing account that the ORE in face recognition is due to reduced holistic processing in other-race faces. Further studies should adopt an interactionist approach taking into account cultural, motivational, and socio-cognitive factors.

Item Type:Article
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:35441
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:26 Apr 2021 11:55
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:27


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