The role of early caregiving experiences on race categorization in adulthood
Loo, Vincci Mei Xian
Date of Issue2017-04-24
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
The human tendency to categorize faces into social groups provide insight into how perceptual and cognitive biases influence face processing. Two predominant models can account for the variety of biases in face perception and processing. The perceptual expertise model suggests that a lack of contact with other-race individuals results in a lack of perceptual expertise with other-race faces, thereby results in inefficient processing and recognition of other-race faces. On the other hand, socio-cognitive accounts of face processing had documented individuals’ automatic bias to process other-race faces in a categorical manner while instead attend to the individuating aspects of own-race faces. Despite research advances, the role of early caregiving experience in shaping individual’s face processing bias remains unexplored. As a result, the present study aimed to fill the gap by examining whether children who are brought up by other-race caregivers will process own-race and other-race faces differently in adulthood. This study focused on own- and other-race categorization tendency in adults between ages 21 and 25. Eighty-eight adults from Nanyang Technological University completed a verbal categorization task that was designed to measure participant’s response latencies in matching target faces to race labels. Results indicated that having experiences with other-race caregivers are not necessarily associated with participants’ tendency to process faces at an individual level. Taken together, findings suggest that the effect of having one other-race caregiver may not exert a great influence on participants’ categorizing tendency. Relative group size of caregivers, such as one’s family members, may play a role in these adults’ face processing ability.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University