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Poster E119

Neurophysiological Evidence for the Other-race Effect on Configuration Encoding of Conscious Face Perception

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Pei-Xuan Luo1 (, Erik Chihhung Chang1, Denise Hsien Wu1; 1National Central University, Zhongli, Taiwan

Human faces can be processed rapidly and automatically. Among salient facial features, however, whether race can be processed unconsciously remains an open question. In our previous behavioral study, the other-race effect (i.e., ORE, better recognition for own-race than other-race faces) was only observed when participants were aware of the facial stimuli. In the present event-related potential (ERP) studies, we focused on the P1 and N170 components at posterior and occipitotemporal sites, which are sensitive to perceived low-level visual properties and encoding of face configuration, respectively, to further examine whether the encoding of face configuration, which may give rise to the ORE, is unconsciously affected by face race in early visual perception. Photographs of East-Asian and Caucasian female and male faces were presented in upright and inverted orientations between a forward and a backward mask when Taiwanese participants were asked to judge the orientation of faces. The presentation durations of faces ranged from subliminal (16.67ms), early-supraliminal (33.34ms), to supraliminal (100ms) conditions. As an index of encoding of face configuration, the inversion effect (i.e., greater responses to inverted than upright faces) was observed in both the P1 and N170 components only in the supraliminal but not in the other two conditions. Critically, the ORE was only observed as the inversion effect was larger for East-Asian than Caucasian faces in the N170 component. Given that no effect was found in the subliminal condition, our ERP findings suggest that encoding of face configuration is modulated by face race only when faces are consciously perceived.

Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Vision


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