Social Categorization Influences Face Perception and Face Memory

Kurt Hugenberg, Steven G. Young, Donald F. Sacco and Michael J. Bernstein

in Oxford Handbook of Face Perception

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Social Categorization Influences Face Perception and Face Memory

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Contained in the face is a vast body of social information, both fixed and flexible. Across multiple lines of converging evidence it has become increasingly clear that face processing is subject to one of the most potent and best understood of social cognitive phenomena: social categorization. This article reviews this research at the juncture of social psychology and face perception showing the interplay between social categorization and face processing. It lays out evidence indicating that social categories are extracted easily from faces, suggesting that the effects of social categories can occur quickly and unintentionally. Recent evidence that social categories can affect perception of both invariant (e.g. facial structure) and variant (e.g. facial expression) facial characteristics is discussed. Finally, the article summarizes recent evidence indicating that the motivational consequences of social categories can affect which faces are remembered and how faces are processed.

Keywords: social categorization; face perception; facial structure; facial expression; motivational consequences

Article.  10021 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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