Non-threatening other-race faces capture visual attention: evidence from a dot-probe task

Shahd Al-Janabi*, Colin MacLeod, Gillian Rhodes

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)
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    Visual attentional biases towards other-race faces have been attributed to the perceived threat value of such faces. It is possible, however, that they reflect the relative visual novelty of other-race faces. Here we demonstrate an attentional bias to other-race faces in the absence of perceived threat. White participants rated female East Asian faces as no more threatening than female own-race faces. Nevertheless, using a new dot-probe paradigm that can distinguish attentional capture and hold effects, we found that these other-race faces selectively captured visual attention. Importantly, this demonstration challenges previous interpretations of attentional biases to other-race faces as threat responses. Future studies will need to determine whether perceived threat increases attentional biases to other-race faces, beyond the levels seen here.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere46119
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2012. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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