The Effect of Gaze Direction on Face Recognition of Own and Other Races

Ting-Hu KANG, Pei-Ling XI, Ting-Ting REN, Li WANG


The own-race bias in face recognition is one of the most replicated findings in cognitive psychology; however, it has been shown to be affected by gaze direction. The current study explored the effect of gaze direction on different race faces using a facial recognition task. Participants were 30 Han males and 32 Han women. The facial recognition task involved presentation of 40 faces with manipulated eye gaze direction; then, participants were shown the same 40 faces randomly mixed with 40 new faces, and were asked to point out which faces they had seen previously as quickly and as accurately as possible. The results showed that hit rates, false alarm rates, and response bias (C) were influenced by gaze direction. Furthermore, gaze direction and race had a significant interaction effect on C. Under the averted-gaze condition, the C for the Han face images was higher than that for the minority faces images, while there was no significant difference in C under the direct-gaze condition. These findings indicate that the influence of other-race faces exposure on C was mediated by the averted-gaze direction.


Face memory; Face recognition; Gaze direction; Race attribute; Own-race bias


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