An Own-Race Bias in the Categorisation and Recall of Associative Information
People tend to better remember same-race faces relative to other-race faces (an “own-race” bias). We examined whether the own-race bias extends to associative memory, particularly in the identification and recall of information paired with faces. In Experiment 1, we presented white participants with own- and other-race faces which either appeared alone or accompanied by a label indicating whether the face was a “criminal” or a “victim”. Results revealed an own-race facial recognition advantage regardless of the presence of associative information. In Experiment 2, we again paired same- and other-race faces with either “criminal” or “victim” labels, but rather than a recognition test, participants were asked to identify whether each face had been presented as a criminal or a victim. White criminals were better categorised than Black criminals, but race did not influence the categorisation of victims. In Experiment 3, white participants were presented with same- and other-race faces and asked to remember where the person was from, their occupation, and a crime they committed. Results revealed a recall advantage for the associative information paired with same-race faces. Collectively, these findings suggest that the own-race bias extends to the categorisation and recall of information in associative memory.