It is well known that we utilize internalized representations (or schemas) to direct our eyes when exploring visual stimuli. Interestingly, our schemas for human faces are known to reflect systematic differences that are consistent with one's level of racial prejudice. However, whether one's level or type of racial prejudice can differentially regulate how we visually explore faces that are the target of prejudice is currently unknown. Here, White participants varying in their level of implicit or explicit prejudice viewed Black faces and White faces (with the latter serving as a control) while having their gaze behaviour recorded with an eye-tracker. The results show that, regardless of prejudice type (i.e., implicit or explicit), participants high in racial prejudice examine faces differently than those low in racial prejudice. Specifically, individuals high in explicit racial prejudice were more likely to fixate on the mouth region of Black faces when compared to individuals low in explicit prejudice, and exhibited less consistency in their scanning of faces irrespective of race. On the other hand, individuals high in implicit racial prejudice tended to focus on the region between the eyes, regardless of face race. It therefore seems that racial prejudice guides target-race specific patterns of looking behaviour, and may also contribute to general patterns of looking behaviour when visually exploring human faces.
|Number of pages
|Published - 28 May 2015
- Explicit prejudice, Eye movements, Human faces, Implicit prejudice, Racial bias