Brooks K R, Gwinn O S, 2010, "No role for lightness in the perception of black and white? Simultaneous contrast affects perceived skin tone, but not perceived race" Perception 39(8) 1142 – 1146
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No role for lightness in the perception of black and white? Simultaneous contrast affects perceived skin tone, but not perceived race
Kevin R Brooks, O Scott Gwinn
Abstract. Faces of individuals with African and European heritage (henceforth referred to as Black and White respectively) feature two major differences: those of skin tone and morphological characteristics. Although considerations of perceived race are important to various psychological subdisciplines, to date the relative influence of morphological versus photometric characteristics has not been investigated. We attempted to influence the perceived racial typicality of a central target face by manipulating perceived skin tone using the well-known lightness contrast illusion. As expected, ratings of skin tone were influenced by surround faces, yet ratings of perceived racial typicality were not, suggesting a dissociation between the two judgments. Surprisingly, skin tone contributes little to perceived race, leaving facial morphology as the dominant cue. These results may shed light on failures to find effects of racial typicality in studies of prejudice where judgments were based on photographs with altered skin tone alone.
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