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Poster E46

Alterations in Hairstyle impact the Other-Race Effect in Face Memory

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

Grit Herzmann1 (, Emma Saxton2, Maresa Taté; 1The College of Wooster

The Other-Race Effect is the phenomena wherein people can recognize individuals of their own-race significantly better than of a different race. Alterations in hairstyle, an external facial feature, have never been studied in conjunction with the other-race effect, even though hair is used as a cue for facial recognition. This study investigated the other-race effect with hair alterations to determine the role of hair in recognition memory, and specifically to identify how it differs between races. In an old-new recognition test, Black and White participants were asked to recognize Black and White faces, half of which had altered hairstyles in the test phase. Behavioral data and the parietal old/new effect, measured through ERPs, were recorded for all participants, making this one of the first studies to report ERPs on the other-race effect for Black participants. Behavioral data confirmed the other-race effect for White participants whereas Black participants did equally well. Memory performance suffered from hair alterations, especially for Black faces. Hair modifications significantly impacted the neural correlates of the other-race effect. White participants did not show a parietal old/new effect for altered other-race faces, whereas Black participants did. Black participant also showed a significant parietal old/new effect for altered own-race faces. The findings suggest that hair is relied on by individuals as a cue for facial identification. In addition, Black individuals pay better attention to hair and thus are more aware of changes that occur to it.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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April 13–16  |  2024