• Charlotte Lewis

Thank you for contributing: Contact hypothesis in the cross-race effect


School of Human Sciences

Institute of Lifecourse Development

University of Greenwich

London SE10 9LS

www.superrecognisers.com

super-recognisers@greenwich.ac.uk

Twitter: @GRecognisers

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0017-7159

https://www.gre.ac.uk/pg/eduhea/psych



Dr Joshua Correll (University of Colorado: Boulder, USA)

Dr Debbie Ma (California State University: Northridge, USA),

Dr Josh P Davis (University of Greenwich)


Thanks to the 623 participants who contributed to our collaborative project investigating the contact hypothesis within the cross-race effect. Participants will have contributed to this project from July 2018 to October 2018.


A journal article describing the research is free to access here


Correll, J., Ma., D. S., & Davis, J. P. (2021). Perceptual tuning through contact? Contact interacts with perceptual (not memory-based) face-processing ability to predict cross-race recognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 92, 104058, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2020.104058


Summary


A large body of research demonstrates that most humans are better at recognising the faces of people from their own ethnicity/race than those from other races/ethnicities. This cross-race effect is believed to be driven by exposure and/or contact, although the effect has had serious negative connotations. Many overturned wrongful convictions have been linked to cross-race misidentifications by honest but mistaken eyewitnesses who came from a different race to the defendant.


On the other hand, super-recognisers tend to be better at face recognition tasks than people with typical range abilities. In this collaborative paper published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology we show that as a group, super-recognisers are able to transfer this advantage to other-race faces (Black faces in this case).


The abstract is below. However, the memory-based facial recognition task was based on scores on the Cambridge Face Memory Test: Extended (Russell, Duchaine, & Nakayama, 2009); the perceptual-based facial recognition task on scores on the Glasgow Face Matching Test (Burton, White, & McNeill, 2010).


It continues a line of research investigating the cross-race phenomenon with super-recognisers (Egyptian faces) by Josh Davis in this recent paper with lead author David Robertson from Strathclyde University (Robertson, Black, Chamberlain, Megreya, & Davis, 2020).


Abstract


Perceivers generally exhibit better face processing with same-race rather than cross-race faces. To what extent is this deficit attenuated by a perceiver's ability to process faces, and to what extent does that face-processing ability need to be “tuned” by experience with cross-race faces? The current study examined the cross-race recognition deficit (CRD) as a function of participants' ability with faces (measured by one task that emphasizes memory-based ability and one task that measures perceptual ability) and cross-race contact. Our primary analyses involve 583 White participants, 45 of whom can be classified as “super-recognizers.” Results suggest that (a) participants with better memory-based face-processing ability generally show a reduction in the CRD, and (b) participants with better perceptual ability only show a reduction in the CRD if they also have cross-race contact. The latter effect suggests that perceptual face processing must be tuned through experience.


References


Burton, A. M., White, D., & McNeill, A. (2010) The Glasgow face matching test. Behavioral Research Methods, 42, 286-291.

Correll, J., Ma., D. S., & Davis, J. P. (2021). Perceptual tuning through contact? Contact interacts with perceptual (not memory-based) face-processing ability to predict cross-race recognition. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 92, 104058, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2020.104058

Robertson, D., Black, J., Chamberlain, B., Megreya, A. M., & Davis, J. P. (2020). Super-recognisers show an advantage for other race face identification Applied Cognitive Psychology, 34(1),205-216. DOI: 10.1002/acp.3608

Russell, R., Duchaine, B., Nakayama, D. (2009). Super-recognizers: People with extraordinary face recognition ability. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 16(2), 252-257.





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