An Experience-Based Holistic Account of the Other-Race Face Effect

Bruno Rossion and Caroline Michel

in Oxford Handbook of Face Perception

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199559053
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

An Experience-Based Holistic Account of the Other-Race Face Effect

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  • Cognitive Psychology



The term “race,” and the concept it refers to, namely genetically different human populations in the world, is one of the most intellectually and emotionally charged in society, and in science as well. This article focuses on how human beings recognize individual faces of their own versus another “racial group,” and the term “face race” is used in the context of visual recognition, as traditionally done in the scientific literature. The article reviews the well-known phenomenon that people have greater difficulty distinguishing and recognizing individual faces from a different human population, or “race,” than their own. Experience-based holistic (EBH) accounts encompass and extend most other proposals, such as a more densely clustered organization of other-race faces in an internal face-space centered on a “norm,” and it leads to a number of interesting predictions about the processing of same race and other-race faces.

Keywords: experience-based holistic; racial group; face race; other-race; face-space

Article.  15652 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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