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The influence of ingroup identification and target prototypicality on facial recognition

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Research on face recognition demonstrates that the cross-category effect—the phenomena of recognizing ingroup members better then outgroup members—results from individuation of faces categorized as ingroup, and assimilation of faces categorized as outgroup. However, because individuation occurs in comparison to the ingroup prototype, I argue that whether individuation aids recognition depends on the similarity between the ingroup prototype and the target faces. Assuming that ingroup identification encourages categorization, and thus individuation of ingroup members, I tested the relationship between ingroup identification and recognition of ingroup and outgroup targets that differed in ingroup prototypicality. Participants viewed prototypical and non-prototypical target faces from either the ingroup or outgroup university, and were then tested for recognition. As predicted, ingroup (university) identification was positively related to recognition of prototypical targets and negatively related to recognition of non-prototypical targets, regardless of differences in participant prototypicality. Ingroup identification tended to be negatively related to outgroup member recognition.
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Copyright is held by the author.
Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Schmitt, Michael
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