The Headscarf Effect Revisited: Further Evidence for a Culture-Based Internal Face Processing Advantage

Yin Wang, Justin Thomas, Sophia Christin Weissgerber, Sahar Kazemini, Israr Ul-Haq, Susanne Quadflieg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
346 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Encoding the internal features of unfamiliar faces poses a perceptual challenge that occasionally results in face recognition errors. Extensive experience with faces framed by a headscarf may, however, enhance perceivers’ ability to process internal facial information. To examine this claim empirically, participants in the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America completed a standard part–whole face recognition task. Accuracy on the task was examined using a 2 (perceiver culture: Emirati vs American) × 2 (face race: Arab vs white) × 2 (probe type: part vs whole) × 3 (probe feature: eyes vs nose vs mouth) mixed-measures analysis of variance. As predicted, Emiratis outperformed Americans on the administered task. Although their recognition advantage occurred regardless of probe type, it was most pronounced for Arab faces and for trials that captured the processing of nose or mouth information. The findings demonstrate that culture-based experiences hone perceivers’ face processing skills.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-336
Number of pages9
JournalPERCEPTION
Volume44
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • face discrimination
  • person identification
  • cross-cultural difference
  • face matching

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