You look familiar: how Malaysian Chinese recognize faces

Chrystalle B Y Tan, Ian D. Stephen, Ross Whitehead, Elizabeth Sheppard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


East Asian and white Western observers employ different eye movement strategies for a variety of visual processing tasks, including face processing. Recent eye tracking studies on face recognition found that East Asians tend to integrate information holistically by focusing on the nose while white Westerners perceive faces featurally by moving between the eyes and mouth. The current study examines the eye movement strategy that Malaysian Chinese participants employ when recognizing East Asian, white Western, and African faces. Rather than adopting the Eastern or Western fixation pattern, Malaysian Chinese participants use a mixed strategy by focusing on the eyes and nose more than the mouth. The combination of Eastern and Western strategies proved advantageous in participants' ability to recognize East Asian and white Western faces, suggesting that individuals learn to use fixation patterns that are optimized for recognizing the faces with which they are more familiar.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29714
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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