Memory & Cognition

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 208–224

Structural aspects of face recognition and the other-race effect


    • School of Human Development, GR4 1University of Texas at Dallas
  • Kenneth A. Deffenbacher
    • University of Nebraska
  • Dominique Valentin
    • School of Human Development, GR4 1University of Texas at Dallas
  • Herve Abdi
    • School of Human Development, GR4 1University of Texas at Dallas

DOI: 10.3758/BF03208892

Cite this article as:
O’toole, A.J., Deffenbacher, K.A., Valentin, D. et al. Memory & Cognition (1994) 22: 208. doi:10.3758/BF03208892


The other-race effect was examined in a series of experiments and simulations that looked at the relationships among observer ratings of typicality, familiarity, attractiveness, memorability, and the performance variables ofd’ and criterion. Experiment 1 replicated the other-race effect with our Caucasian and Japanese stimuli for both Caucasian and Asian observers. In Experiment 2, we collected ratings from Caucasian observers on the faces used in the recognition task. A Varimax-rotated principal components analysis on the rating and performance data for the Caucasian faces replicated Vokey and Read’s (1992) finding that typicality is composed of two orthogonal components, dissociable via their independent relationships to: (1) attractiveness and familiarity ratings and (2) memorahility ratings. For Japanese faces, however, we fond that typicality was related only to memorahility. Where performance measures were concerned, two additional principal components dominated by criterion and byd’ emerged for Caucasian faces. For the Japanese faces, however, the performance measures ofd’ and criterion merged into a single component that represented a second component of typicality, one orthogonal to thememorability-dominated component. A measure offace representation quality extracted from an autoassociative neural network trained with a majority of Caucasian faces and a minority of Japanese faces was incorporated into the principal components analysis. For both Caucasian and Japanese faces, the neural network measure related both to memorability ratings and to human accuracy measures. Combined, the human data and simulation results indicate that the memorahility component of typicality may be related to small, local, distinctive features, whereas the attractiveness/familiarity component may be more related to the global, shape-based properties of the face.

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1994