The influence of attentional capacity and social categorization on own race effect


Own-race effect is the phenomenon that individuals are better able to recognize the faces of people from their own race than the faces of people from other races. Sporer (2001) suggests that other-race faces may activate a categorization response, which may divert one’s attention away and in turn hurt the recognition of these faces (in-group/out-group model). In the current study, we manipulated in/out group and attentional resource as independent variables to verify their influence on the own-race effect. We found that in the high attention condition, only “in-group with other race” participants, not “out-group with other race” participants showed the own-race effect. But in the low attention group, the own-race effect occurred only for “out-group with other race” participants, not for “in-group with other race” participants. The implication of these findings on the roles of social categorization and attentional resource in the own-race effect will be discussed in our presentation.

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