The Other-Race Effect in Caucasian and Japanese-Descendant Children in Brazil: Evidence of Developmental Plasticity


The Other-Race Effect has been confirmed by several experimental studies, in which the individual has greater difficulty in recognizing the faces of races that are different from their own. Few studies have investigated this effect during the development of the face processing system. The aim of this study was to investigate the development of the Other-Race Effect in Caucasian and Japanese-descendants children born and living in Brazil. Seventy-four children, split into two age groups (5 - 7 and 9 - 11 years of age), were tested. Japanese-descendant children did not present the effect in favor of their own-race faces, whereas Caucasian children demonstrated the effect in both age groups. This indicates that the effect is present early in the development of face recognition and that contact with the faces of another race during childhood dissipates it. These findings suggest that experience with faces from the children’s visual context is crucial for shaping face processing.

Share and Cite:

Fioravanti-Bastos, A. , Filgueiras, A. & Landeira-Fernandez, J. (2014). The Other-Race Effect in Caucasian and Japanese-Descendant Children in Brazil: Evidence of Developmental Plasticity. Psychology, 5, 2073-2083. doi: 10.4236/psych.2014.519210.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Anzures, G., Kelly, D. J., Pascalis, O., Quinn, P. C., Slater, A. M., de Vivies, X., & Lee, K. (2014). Own- and Other-Race Face Identity Recognition in Children: The Effects of Pose and Feature Composition. Developmental Psychology, 50, 469-481.
[2] Anzures, G., Quinn, P. C., Pascalis, O., Slater, A. M., & Lee, K. (2010). Categorization, Categorical Perception, and Asymmetry in Infants’ Representation of Face Race. Developmental Science, 13, 553-564.
[3] Anzures, G., Quinn, P. C., Pascalis, O., Slater, A. M., Tanaka, J. W., & Lee, K. (2013). Developmental Origins of the Other-Race Effect. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22, 173-178.
[4] Anzures, G., Wheeler, A., Quinn, P. C., Pascalis, O., Slater, A. M., Heron-Delaney, M., & Lee, K. (2012). Brief daily Exposures to Asian Females Reverses Perceptual Narrowing for Asian Faces in Caucasian Infants. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 112, 484-495.
[5] Betts, J., McKay, J., Maruff, P., & Anderson, V. (2006). The Development of Sustained Attention in Children: The Effect of Age and Task Load. Child Neuropsychology : A Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 12, 205-221.
[6] Bukach, C. M., Cottle, J., Ubiwa, J., & Miller, J. (2012). Individuation Experience Predicts Other-Race Effects in Holistic Processing for Both Caucasian and Black Participants. Cognition, 123, 319-324.
[7] Carey, S., Diamond, R., & Woods, B. (1980). Development of Face Recognition: A Maturational Component? Developmental Psychology, 16, 257-269.
[8] Chance, J. E., & Goldstein, A. G. (1996). The Other Race Effect and Eyewitness Identification. In S. L. Sporer, R. S. Malpass, & G. Koehnken (Eds.), Psychological Issues in Eyewitness Identification (pp. 153-176). Mahwah: Erlbaum.
[9] Chiroro, P., & Valentine, T. (1995). An Investigation of the Contact Hypothesis of the Own-race Bias in Face Recognition. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology Section A, 48, 879-894.
[10] Crookes, K., & McKone, E. (2009). Early Maturity of Face Recognition: No Childhood Development of Holistic Processing, Novel Face Encoding, or Face-Space. Cognition, 111, 219-247.
[11] De Heering, A., De Liedekerke, C., Deboni, M., & Rossion, B. (2010). The Role of Experience during Childhood in Shaping the Other-Race Effect. Developmental Science, 13, 181-187.
[12] Diamond, R., & Carey, S. (1986). Why Faces Are and Are Not Special: An Effect of Expertise. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 115, 107-117.
[13] Goodman, G. S., Sayfan, L., Lee, J. S., Sandhei, M., Walle-Olsen, A., Magnussen, S., Pezdek, K., & Arredondo, P. (2007). The Development of Memory for Own- and Other-Race Faces. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 98, 233-242.
[14] Greenwood, T. A., Swerdlow, N. R., Gur, R. E., Cadenhead, K. S., Calkins, M. E., Dobie, D. J., Braff, D. L. et al. (2013). Genome-Wide Linkage Analyses of 12 Endophenotypes for Schizophrenia from the Consortium on the Genetics of Schizophrenia. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 521-532.
[15] Heron-Delaney, M., Anzures, G., Herbert, J. S., Quinn, P. C., Slater, A. M., Tanaka, J. W., & Pascalis, O. (2011). Perceptual Training Prevents the Emergence of the Other Race Effect during Infancy. PLoS ONE, 6, e19858.
[16] Holmes, J., Gathercole, S. E., Place, M., Dunning, D. L., Hilton, K. A., & Elliott, J. G. (2010). Working Memory Deficits Can Be Overcome: Impacts of Training and Medication on Working Memory in Children with ADHD. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24, 827-836.
[17] Johnson, S. P. (2011). Development of Visual Perception. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 2, 515-528.
[18] Kelly, D. J., Quinn, P. C., Slater, A. M., Lee, K., Ge, L. Z., & Pascalis, O. (2007). The Other-Race Effect Develops during Infancy: Evidence of Perceptual Narrowing. Psychological Science, 18, 1084-1089.
[19] Liu, S. Y., Quinn, P. C., Wheeler, A., Xiao, N. Q., Ge, L. Z., & Lee, K. (2011). Similarity and Difference in the Processing of Same- and Other-Race Faces as Revealed by Eye Tracking in 4- to 9-Month-Olds. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 180-189.
[20] Macchi Cassia, V., Luo, L. Z., Pisacane, A., Li, H., & Lee, K. (2014). How Race and Age Experiences Shape Young Children’s Face Processing Abilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 120, 87-101.
[21] Mondloch, C. J., Geldart, S., Maurer, D., & Grand, R. L. (2003). Developmental Changes in Face Processing Skills. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 86, 67-84.
[22] Palomaki, G. E., Deciu, C., Kloza, E. M., Lambert-Messerlian, G. M., Haddow, J. E., Neveux, L. M., Canick, J. A. et al. (2012). DNA Sequencing of Maternal Plasma Reliably Identifies Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13 as Well as Down Syndrome: An International Collaborative Study. Genetics in Medicine : Official Journal of the American College of Medical Genetics, 14, 296-305.
[23] Pezdek, K., Blandon-Gitlin, I., & Moore, C. (2003). Children’s face Recognition Memory: More Evidence for the Cross-Race Effect. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 760-763.
[24] Reif, A., Rosler, M., Freitag, C. M., Schneider, M., Eujen, A., Kissling, C., Retz, W. et al. (2007). Nature and Nurture Predispose to Violent Behavior: Serotonergic Genes and Adverse Childhood Environment. Neuropsychopharmacology?, 32, 2375-2383.
[25] Sangrigoli, S., & De Schonen, S. (2004). Recognition of Own-Race and Other-Race Faces by Three-Month-Old Infants. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 1219-1227.
[26] Sangrigoli, S., Pallier, C., Argenti, A. M., Ventureyra, V. A. G., & De Schonen, S. (2005). Reversibility of the Other-Race Effect in Face Recognition during Childhood. Psychological Science, 16, 440-444.
[27] Sheslow, D., & Adams, W. (1990). Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning. Wilmington: Jastak Associates.
[28] Stahl, C. (2006). Software for Generating Psychological Experiments. Experimental Psychology, 53, 218-232.
[29] Toseeb, U., Keeble, D. R. T., & Bryant, E. J. (2012). The Significance of Hair for Face Recognition. PLoS ONE, 7.
[30] Walker, P. M., & Hewstone, M. (2006). A Perceptual Discrimination Investigation of the Own-Race Effect and Intergroup Experience. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20, 461-475.
[31] Walker, P. M., & Tanaka, J. W. (2003). An Encoding Advantage for Own-Race versus Other-Race Faces. Perception, 32, 1117-1125.
[32] Wheeler, A., Anzures, G., Quinn, P. C., Pascalis, O., Omrin, D. S., & Lee, K. (2011). Caucasian Infants Scan Own- and Other-Race Faces Differently. PLoS ONE, 6.

Copyright © 2021 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.