The Importance of Internal and External Features in Matching Own and Other Race Faces

Havard, Catriona (2021). The Importance of Internal and External Features in Matching Own and Other Race Faces. Perception (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/03010066211043464

Abstract

Research has shown that we are better at discriminating between faces that are our own race, and much less accurate with faces of another race. When the external features of faces were removed, this reduced the accuracy for recognizing other-races faces, more than own-race faces, suggesting that the external features (hair, face shape) are especially important for the recognition of other-race faces. The aim of the current study was to determine whether external features were more useful in matching other-race faces, and whether this was the case for Western and Eastern viewers. The current study employed a face matching task with Caucasian (U.K.) and Asian (Chinese) participants and found that responses were more accurate for own-race faces, and for whole faces when compared with faces where the internal or external features had been removed. Removing the external features of other-race faces increased the own-race bias for Chinese and U.K. participants, demonstrating the importance of viewing whole faces, including the external features when matching other-race faces.

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