How can you look like an Asian

Why all Asians look so similar to Europeans

Just as all Asians look the same to Europeans, Asians have difficulty distinguishing white people from one another. So far, this effect has been attributed to a lack of habituation: Since most people mainly encounter people of their own skin color in everyday life, they are simply not used to seeing and recognizing strange-looking faces, according to the thesis. However, more and more researchers now believe that the phenomenon must be based on another mechanism. Your assumption: Difficulties with different faces are just one manifestation of a more comprehensive principle that basically allows people to differentiate between “their own” and “foreign”.

To test this, study leader Michael Bernstein and his colleagues designed a scenario in which only the group membership and not the degree of habituation varied: They showed a total of 99 volunteers photos of strange faces with the same skin color as themselves Half of those pictured, the researchers claimed they were attending the same university as the test takers, while the others were allegedly from a different university. In fact, the test subjects were able to remember the faces of their supposed fellow students better than those of the others, the evaluation showed. The effect was even measurable when it came to completely artificial groups based on a bogus personality test, according to the researchers.

Even without the habituation effect, the group feeling alone is enough to influence facial recognition, the researchers conclude. They suspect that the moment the other person is identified as a member of your own group, an automatic facial recognition program starts up, which does not respond to members of other groups. In addition, when faced with strange faces, people may focus on the features of the strange category rather than the individual characteristics. In everyday life, both effects, social categorization and habituation, probably play a role? According to the researchers, what proportions must now be investigated.

Michael Bernstein (Miami University, Oxford) et al .: Psychological Science, Vol. 18, No. 8, p. 706 ddp / Ilka Lehnen-Beyel
August 16, 2007