Other-race face perception: an investigation of the perceptual-expertise hypothesis

Kara M. Mitchell, The College of Wooster


Research has indicated that individuals recognize their own-race faces better than other-race faces. This study investigated the presence of an "other-race effect" in individuals based on their other-race experience. Fifty-eight College of Wooster students (ages 18- 22) were asked to view morphed and non-morphed photographs of individuals with both same-race and other-race faces and were asked to identify when any changes occurred. Participants were also asked to fill out a racial contact questionnaire, in an attempt to evaluate other-race experience. The hypotheses were that (1) Participants will demonstrate an own-race face preference and (2) Other-race experience will be directly correlated with the ability to detect differences in other-race faces. The results confirmed the presence of an ORE, and failed to find a significant relationship between racial contact and the ORE.