The Other Race Effect

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Brief Description:

This study examines the nature of adult "other-race" face perception. In particular, we are interested in finding out how face shape and skin tone each contribute to making a face look like it belongs to one category or another.

Eligibility for study participation

We are currently recruiting adults with normal or corrected-to-normal vision for this study. Adults should also have no history of neurological disorders or head trauma.

Study Eligibility Criteria: We are currently recruiting adults with normal or corrected-to-normal vision for this study. Adults should also have no history of neurological disorders or head trauma.

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Full Description:

Face recognition is an extremely difficult task that adults usually manage to perform almost effortlessly. However, adults generally find faces that belong to "out-group" categories harder to tell apart than faces that belong to the "in-group." When talking about racial and ethnic categories, this is often referred to as the "other-race effect." In this study, we are interested in understanding what visual information makes a face look like it belongs to one race or another, and also studying how the brain responds to these visual cues.

During the experiment, participants will watch Caucasian and African faces while we measure their brain activity. We use computer-generated faces to study how face shape and face pigmentation contribute to making a face look like an "other-race" face. In particular, some of the faces have had their skin tone changed so that they still have their original shape, but look like they belong to the opposite category.

Measuring brain responses in this study helps us understand the difference between recognizing the faces we are "experts" at and faces that we see less often. By combining this information with the results of our infant study on the same subject, we hope to illuminate the full trajectory of this developmental process.

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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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