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Title: How expertise and motivation affect the recognition of own- and other-race faces : behavioural and electrophysiological evidence
Author: Tuettenberg, Simone Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7962 603X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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Humans have difficulties recognising other-race faces, and this own-race bias (ORB) has been explained in terms of either reduced perceptual expertise with other-race faces or socio-cognitive and motivational factors, such as categorisation of other-race faces into social out-groups. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the role of these factors to the ORB using behavioural and event-related brain potential (ERP) measures. First, it was investigated whether increasing motivation to individuate other-race faces can reduce or even eliminate the ORB in recognition memory. Chapter 2 revealed that a modulation of face memory by motivational factors is possible, but restricted to face categories for which participants have acquired expertise. In Chapter 3, instructions to individuate and closely attend to other-race faces during learning reduced the ORB, but ERPs recorded during encoding indicated that additional effort was required to overcome difficulties associated with other-race face recognition. Second, it was examined whether own- and other-race faces are learnt equally well from highly variable images in paradigms that encourage individuation of own- and other-race identities. Chapter 4 revealed better learning for own- relative to other-race identities, and only extensive other-race contact eliminated this own-race advantage. In Chapter 5, ERP results indicated that the own-race advantage in identity learning resulted from facilitated processing of own-race faces at an early perceptual level. In sum, the present research suggests that the ORB is mainly driven by differential perceptual expertise. However, motivational factors can modulate the effect when participants have acquired sufficient expertise with a given face category and thus the present results offer novel insights into how expertise and motivation interact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available