A multidimensional scaling analysis of own- and cross-race face spaces

Megan H. Papesh, Stephen Goldinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We examined predictions derived from Valentine's (1991) Multidimensional Space (MDS) framework for own- and other-race face processing. A set of 20 computerized faces was generated from a single prototype. Each face was saved as Black and White, changing only skin tone, such that structurally identical faces were represented in both race categories. Participants made speeded " same-different" judgments to all possible combinations of faces, from which we generated psychological spaces, with " different" RTs as the measure of similarity. Consistent with the MDS framework, all faces were pseudo-normally distributed around the (unseen) prototype. The distribution of faces was consistent with Valentine's (1991) predictions: despite their physical identity to the White faces, Black faces had lower mean inter-object distances in psychological space. Other-race faces are more densely clustered in psychological space, which could underlie well-known recognition deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-288
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Face perception
  • Multidimensional scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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