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The own-group recognition bias (OGRB) has been consistently linked to social contact in theoretical accounts. Indeed, social contact is assumed by most authors to underlie the perceptual expertise of out-groups' faces. However, little is known empirically about how it might impact face-processing strategies. We tested the proposition that social interaction would improve the face recognition performance of another group by modulating visual strategies for different face areas. In Experiment 1, we studied visual processes using an eye tracker during a person's first live encounter with a particular member of their own group (European) or an outgroup (African) to explore how increasing familiarity during a first interaction influences face-processing strategies. In Experiments 2 and 3, we explored the effect of simulated intergroup contact on face recognition accuracy, while simultaneously studying the impact of contact on visual attention strategies that occur during recognition (Experiment 2) and encoding (Experiment 3). The results showed a strong OGRB and a difference in visual processes based on the ethnic group of the targets. Although a single interaction is not sufficient to reduce the OGRB, familiarization during a live interaction (Experiment 1) and virtual social contact (Experiment 2) had an impact on the visual strategies employed. © 2022 The Authors. British Journal of Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The British Psychological Society.


Malvina Brunet, Anaïs Taddei, Jacques Py, Pierre-Vincent Paubel, Colin Tredoux. Social contact, own-group recognition bias and visual attention to faces. British journal of psychology (London, England : 1953). 2023 May;114 Suppl 1:112-133

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PMID: 36300682

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