The own-race bias effect in South Africa
Researcher: Inonge Lupinda, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Supervisors: Dr Colin Tredoux, University of Cape Town and Dr Helen Robertson, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Link to YouTube Video
Face recognition is critical for human connection and perceptual ability, and mistakes in face recognition can degrade the quality of social interaction. Own-race bias (ORB) in facial recognition refers to the tendency to recognize people from one’s own racial group more accurately than people from other racial groupings. This research examines the prevalence and presence of the ORB phenomena in human face recall, its various explanations, and causes, and the serious implications it has in eyewitness cross-racial identification, using a South African demographic of Black, White, and Coloured people. It explores how social inclusion or exclusion exacerbates this phenomenon, especially considering the historical context of South Africa. Embedded in ORB are social-cognitive factors such as implicit bias, racial attitudes, social motivation, and the contact hypothesis.