Exogenous social identity cues differentially affect the dynamic tracking of individual target faces

Roy Allen, Fiona Gabbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


We report on an experiment to investigate the top-down effect of exogenous social identity cues on a multiple-identity tracking (MIT) task, a paradigm well-suited to investigate the processes of binding identity to spatial locations. Here we simulated an eyewitness event in which dynamic targets, all to be tracked with equal effort, were identified from amongst a “crowd” of eight faces, as an assailant, bystander, policeman and victim. Even in such a simplistic paradigm, where no actual assault was witnessed and no consequences were associated with the task, results demonstrated a significant attentional bias, namely that participants were significantly better at tracking the assailant, bystander and policeman than they were the victim. We found no difference in accurate recall based upon the use of text or face cues and no systematic pattern of response errors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1982-1989
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition
Issue number6
Early online date1 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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