Are you in or are you out? The importance of group saliency in own-group biases in face recognition

Harrison, V, Hole, G and Habibi, Ruth (2020) Are you in or are you out? The importance of group saliency in own-group biases in face recognition. Perception, 49 (6). pp. 672-687. ISSN 0301-0066

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (450kB)
[img] PDF - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial.

Download (429kB)


Previous research has demonstrated several own-group biases (OGBs) in face recognition, but why they occur is unclear. Social–cognitive accounts suggest they stem from differential attention and facial processing, following the categorisation of a face as belonging to an “in” or “out” group. Three studies explored whether OGBs can be produced by mere categorisation at encoding and investigated the role of in-group membership saliency on face recognition. Participants saw 40 facial images fictionally grouped according to in-/out-group status. Studies 1 and 2 used university membership as the grouping variable and found no evidence of an OGB, and no relationship between OGB magnitude and salience of group membership. Study 3 used the same design as Study 2, but with a highly salient group characteristic: participants’ stance on the U.K. Referendum (i.e., whether they were “Leave” or “Remain” supporters). In this case, an asymmetrical OGB was found, with only Remain voters demonstrating an OGB. Furthermore, a relationship between OGB magnitude and attitude toward the Referendum result was found. Overall, our results suggest that social categorisation and membership saliency alone may not be enough to moderate in- and out-group face recognition. However, when sufficiently polarised groups are used as in-/out-group categories, OGBs may occur.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: face recognition, motivation, own-group bias, salience
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2020 09:53
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2020 10:00

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update