The current study uses an RT distribution analysis approach to examine the self-bias in face categorization. In two experiments we systematically manipulated the decision boundaries between the self, familiar, and unfamiliar others in face categorization tasks. For the first time in studies of self-categorization we estimated parameters from ex-Gaussian fits of reaction time distributions in order to capture the influence of different boundaries on the latency distribution of the categorization responses. The results showed that the distribution of responses to self faces was stable regardless of the face context and the task demands, and changes in context only shifted the response distribution in time. In contrast, varying the decisions with familiar and unfamiliar faces changed the shape of the RT distributions in addition to shifting RTs in time. The results indicate that, in contrast to our perception of familiar and unfamiliar faces of other people, self face perception forms a unique perceptual category unaffected by shifts in context and task demands.
- Face categorization
- reaction time distribution