Can perceptual expertise account for the own-race bias in face recognition? A split brain study

David John Turk, T. C. Handy, M. S. Gazzaniga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The own-race bias ( ORB) in facial recognition is characterised by increased accuracy in recognition of individuals from one's own racial group, relative to individuals from other racial groups. Here we report data from a split-brain patient indicating that the ORB may be tied to functions lateralised in the right cerebral hemisphere. Patient JW ( a Caucasian) performed a delayed match-to-sample task for faces that varied both the race of the facial memoranda-Caucasian or Japanese-and the cerebral hemisphere performing the task. While JW's left hemisphere showed no effect of race on facial recognition, his right hemisphere demonstrated a significant performance advantage for Caucasian faces. These findings are discussed in relation to stimulus familiarity and the development of perceptual expertise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-883
Number of pages7
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


  • right-hemisphere
  • fusiform
  • memory
  • prosopagnosia
  • asymmetries
  • experience
  • ability
  • area

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