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Durham e-Theses
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How expertise and motivation affect the recognition of own- and other-race faces: Behavioural and electrophysiological evidence

TUETTENBERG, SIMONE,CLAUDIA (2019) How expertise and motivation affect the recognition of own- and other-race faces: Behavioural and electrophysiological evidence. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Humans have difficulties recognising other-race faces, and this own-race bias (ORB) has been explained in terms of either reduced perceptual expertise with other-race faces or socio-cognitive and motivational factors, such as categorisation of other-race faces into social out-groups. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the role of these factors to the ORB using behavioural and event-related brain potential (ERP) measures. First, it was investigated whether increasing motivation to individuate other-race faces can reduce or even eliminate the ORB in recognition memory. Chapter 2 revealed that a modulation of face memory by motivational factors is possible, but restricted to face categories for which participants have acquired expertise. In Chapter 3, instructions to individuate and closely attend to other-race faces during learning reduced the ORB, but ERPs recorded during encoding indicated that additional effort was required to overcome difficulties associated with other-race face recognition. Second, it was examined whether own- and other-race faces are learnt equally well from highly variable images in paradigms that encourage individuation of own- and other-race identities. Chapter 4 revealed better learning for own- relative to other-race identities, and only extensive other-race contact eliminated this own-race advantage. In Chapter 5, ERP results indicated that the own-race advantage in identity learning resulted from facilitated processing of own-race faces at an early perceptual level. In sum, the present research suggests that the ORB is mainly driven by differential perceptual expertise. However, motivational factors can modulate the effect when participants have acquired sufficient expertise with a given face category and thus the present results offer novel insights into how expertise and motivation interact.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:face recognition; own-race bias; face learning; event-related brain potentials
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Apr 2019 12:42

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