Title page for ETD etd-09272010-134503

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Gouws, Erik Petrus
URN etd-09272010-134503
Document Title An exploratory study on the influence of the own-race bias on the serial position effect in facial recognition
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof D J F Maree Supervisor
  • influence
  • Johannesburg
  • Midrand
  • own-race bias in facial recognition
Date 2010-09-03
Availability unrestricted

The research aimed to explore the potential occurrence of the serial position effect and the own-race bias in facial recognition, and to explore whether these two socio-cognitive psychological phenomena had any influence on each other. Specifically, the researcher suggested that other-race facial recognition will show diminished U-type serial position curves in comparison to own-race facial recognition U-type serial position curves. This was done through a quasi-experimental design, testing 48 participants from an environmental consulting and ground engineering firm in Midrand, Johannesburg. Twelve (12) sets of slides showing either 5 black or 5 white faces were presented to participants, the sequence of faces was randomised and then displayed again to participants. Participants had to identify the original position in which the face was displayed (forcing a serial reconstruction task). Results yielded a U-type serial position curves for overall recognition, with a statistically significant effect for own-race bias effect. Specific interactions indicated that recognition for own-race facial stimuli exhibit clear serial position effect trends, whilst recognition of other-race facial stimuli recognition show increased recognition for the first, middle and last faces in a set. The researcher suggests that the results within this study could be attributed to the effect of an attentional primacy gradient within the Serial Information Processing model. However, further studies are required to eliminate numerous other confounding factors which may have played a role in the study. The results of this research have implications for the judicial system, in which false eyewitness identifications have profound consequences.

2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Gouws, EP 2010, An exploratory study on the influence of the own-race bias on the serial position effect in facial recognition, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09272010-134503/ >


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