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ERIC Number: EJ863003
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
Asymmetric Cultural Effects on Perceptual Expertise Underlie an Own-Race Bias for Voices
Perrachione, Tyler K.; Chiao, Joan Y.; Wong, Patrick C. M.
Cognition, v114 n1 p42-55 Jan 2010
The own-race bias in memory for faces has been a rich source of empirical work on the mechanisms of person perception. This effect is thought to arise because the face-perception system differentially encodes the relevant structural dimensions of features and their configuration based on experiences with different groups of faces. However, the effects of sociocultural experiences on person perception abilities in other identity-conveying modalities like audition have not been explored. Investigating an own-race bias in the auditory domain provides a unique opportunity for studying whether person identification is a modality-independent construct and how it is sensitive to asymmetric cultural experiences. Here we show that an own-race bias in talker identification arises from asymmetric experience with different spoken dialects. When listeners categorized voices by race (White or Black), a subset of the Black voices were categorized as sounding White, while the opposite case was unattested. Acoustic analyses indicated listeners' perceptions about race were consistent with differences in specific phonetic and phonological features. In a subsequent person-identification experiment, the Black voices initially categorized as sounding White elicited an own-race bias from White listeners, but not from Black listeners. These effects are inconsistent with person-perception models that strictly analogize faces and voices based on recognition from only structural features. Our results demonstrate that asymmetric exposure to spoken dialect, independent from talkers' physical characteristics, affects auditory perceptual expertise for talker identification. Person perception thus additionally relies on socioculturally-acquired dynamic information, which may be represented by different mechanisms in different sensory modalities. (Contains 6 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A