Journal article

Is the Other-Race Effect in Working Memory Due to Attentional Refreshing?


  • 2023
Published in:
  • Journal of Cognition. - Ubiquity Press, Ltd.. - 2023, vol. 6, no. 1, p. 1-9
English The other-race effect is the observation that faces from another ethnicity induce
worst recall performance than faces from one’s own ethnicity. This effect has been
defined as a type of familiarity effect, with more familiar faces better recalled than
less familiar faces. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that a working memory
maintenance mechanism called attentional refreshing mediates the other-race effect
and that faces from one’s own ethnicity are refreshed more efficiently than faces from
other ethnicities. In two experiments, face ethnicity was orthogonally manipulated
with cognitive load of a concurrent processing task in a complex-span paradigm (Exp.
1) and with the memory load in a Brown-Peterson paradigm (Exp. 2). Both cognitive
and memory load effects are indices of the functioning of attentional refreshing.
Testing Caucasian young adults, Caucasian and East-Asian faces were contrasted.
Results from both experiments were congruent and against our initial hypothesis. The
other-race effect in working memory does not appear to be supported by attentional
refreshing. Furthermore, the results are congruent with the idea that faces as a whole
are not maintained in working memory via attentional refreshing.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Bibliothèque de pédagogie et psychologie
  • English
Open access status
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