Facial-based ethnic recognition: insights from two closely related by ethnically distinct groups
Greeff, Jaco M.
Academy of Science of South Africa
Previous studies on facial recognition have considered widely separated populations, both geographically and culturally, making it hard to disentangle effects of familiarity with an ability to identify ethnic groups per se.We used data from a highly intermixed population of African peoples from South Africa to test whether individuals from nine different ethnic groups could correctly differentiate between facial images of two of these, the Tswana and Pedi. Individuals could not assign ethnicity better than expected by chance, and there was no significant difference between genders in accuracy of assignment. Interestingly, we observed a trend that individuals of mixed ethnic origin were better at assigning ethnicity to Pedi and Tswanas, than individuals from less mixed backgrounds. This result supports the hypothesis that ethnic recognition is based on the visual expertise gained with exposure to different ethnic groups.
Sherpa Romeo blue journal; open access
Faces , Ethnicity , Facial recognition , Exposure , Cross-cultural studies
Coetzee, V., Greeff, J.M., Barrett, L., & Henzi, S.P. (2009). Facial-based ethnic recognition: insights from two closely related by ethnically distinct groups. South African Journal of Science, 106, 464-466.