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Unformatted text preview: http://pss.sagepub.com/ Psychological Science http://pss.sagepub.com/content/16/11/875 The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01631.x 2005 16: 875 Psychological Science Kareem J. Johnson and Barbara L. Fredrickson ''We All Look the Same to Me'' : Positive Emotions Eliminate the Own-Race Bias in Face Recognition Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com On behalf of: Association for Psychological Science can be found at: Psychological Science Additional services and information for http://pss.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts: http://pss.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: at CALIFORNIA DIGITAL LIBRARY on July 19, 2010 pss.sagepub.com Downloaded from Research Article ‘‘We All Look the Same to Me’’ Positive Emotions Eliminate the Own-Race Bias in Face Recognition Kareem J. Johnson and Barbara L. Fredrickson University of Michigan ABSTRACT— Extrapolating from the broaden-and-build theory, we hypothesized that positive emotion may reduce the own-race bias in facial recognition. In Experiments 1 and 2, Caucasian participants ( N 5 89) viewed Black and White faces for a recognition task. They viewed videos eliciting joy, fear, or neutrality before the learning (Ex- periment 1) or testing (Experiment 2) stages of the task. Results reliably supported the hypothesis. Relative to fear or a neutral state, joy experienced before either stage im- proved recognition of Black faces and significantly re- duced the own-race bias. Discussion centers on possible mechanisms for this reduction of the own-race bias, in- cluding improvements in holistic processing and promotion of a common in-group identity due to positive emotions. When people describe individuals of a different race, it is not uncommon to hear them exclaim, ‘‘They all look the same to me!’’ This colloquial phrase describes one of the more reliable em- pirical findings in face recognition: the own-race bias (ORB). Generally, people are less able to recognize and distinguish between people of a different race than to recognize and distin- guish between people of their own race (Meissner & Brigham, 2001; Slone, Brigham, & Meissner, 2000). This recognition bias is prevalent among all racial groups (Ng & Lindsay, 1994; Tei- telbaum & Geiselman, 1997), but some evidence suggests the effect is most pronounced for Caucasians viewing members of racial minority groups (Meissner & Brigham, 2001). The prev- alence of the bias has significant practical and societal costs. For instance, the ORB makes cross-racial eyewitness identifications highly unreliable and has dire consequences for the criminal- justice system (Doyle, 2001; Kassin, Ellsworth, & Smith, 1989)....
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