Keynote Address

Perceiving Race

Professor Kerry Kawakami (York University, Canada)

The human face plays a crucial role in person perception because it contains valuable information about others. This may be especially the case in an intergroup context. Although research has convincingly demonstrated that perceivers are better at understanding and extracting information from faces that belong to ingroups relative to outgroups, we know surprisingly little about how people process faces from their own and other racial categories. In the current research, we investigated differences in perceivers’ attention to specific features of the faces of ingroup and outgroup targets and other biases in face perception. We also explored strategies to reduce these biases. Our results demonstrate that, relative to outgroup faces, perceivers attended more to the eyes of ingroups, are better at recognizing ingroup members (i.e., Own Race Effect), are better at identifying emotions on ingroup members, and make different trait attributions related to facial expressions on ingroup members. Our results, however, also suggest that perceived similarity and individuation instructions can reduce these biases. Together the present findings highlight the impact of outgroup categorization on visual attention and potential determinants and consequences of this process.

Kerry Kawakami is a Professor of Psychology at York University. Her Ph.D. in social psychology is from the University of Toronto. Her research interests include face perception, social categorization processes, prejudice, and stereotyping. A primary aim of this work is to explore strategies to reduce implicit intergroup biases using a variety of social cognitive methodologies. She has served as an Associate Editor at the European Journal of Social Psychology and Social Psychological and Personality Science. She is currently an Editor in Chief at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the flagship journal for social personality psychology. Her research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Canadian Foundation for Innovation Fund (CFI), and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). She is the recipient of the Premiers Research Excellence Award and has twice been awarded the Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize (2000 and 2018) from Division 9 of the American Psychological Association.

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Professor Kerry Kawakami