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Influence of own-race bias on saccade programming

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  • Computer Science


Numerous studies have repeatedly demonstrated a face advantage, showing that faces are processed more efficiently and faster compared to other stimuli in our environment. This long-standing result has also been explored in terms of high- and low-level visual properties of faces, revealing it to be unlikely that the advantageous processing could be explained on the basis of low-level feature differences such as luminance, contrast, or spatial frequency. In this study, we explored saccadic programming in relation to the own-race bias, a phenomenon describing superior performance to recognise own-race faces compared to other-race faces. Using an anti-saccade paradigm, twenty Caucasian and twenty Chinese participants were presented with images of Western Caucasian and East Asian faces, all controlled for low-level visual features. Participants were given a cue instructing them to either saccade toward the face stimulus (pro-saccade) or away from the image (anti-saccade). We found that Chinese participants produced significantly higher anti-saccade error rates for Asian compared to other-race faces, while Caucasians revealed prolonged saccadic reaction times for correctly performed anti-saccades when presented with Caucasian but not other-race faces. The own-race bias was thus demonstrated in an anti-saccade task, suggesting an involuntary saccadic bias towards own race faces.

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