Face age and sex modulate the other-race effect in face recognition
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Faces convey a variety of socially relevant cues that have been shown to affect recognition, such as age, sex, and race, but few studies have examined the interactive effect of these cues. White participants of two distinct age groups were presented with faces that differed in race, age, and sex in a face recognition paradigm. Replicating the other-race effect, young participants recognized young own-race faces better than young other-race faces. However, recognition performance did not differ across old faces of different races (Experiments 1, 2A). In addition, participants showed an other-age effect, recognizing White young faces better than White old faces. Sex affected recognition performance only when age was not varied (Experiment 2B). Overall, older participants showed a similar recognition pattern (Experiment 3) as young participants, displaying an other-race effect for young, but not old, faces. However, they recognized young and old White faces on a similar level. These findings indicate that face cues interact to affect recognition performance such that age and sex information reliably modulate the effect of race cues. These results extend accounts of face recognition that explain recognition biases (such as the other-race effect) as a function of dichotomous ingroup/outgroup categorization, in that outgroup characteristics are not simply additive but interactively determine recognition performance. © 2012 Psychonomic Society, Inc.
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