Dissertations and Theses @ UNI

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Master's Thesis Award - Second Place.

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Open Access Thesis


Face perception; Race awareness;


Face recognition is an important factor in everyday social interaction. Bruce and Young's (1986) model of face processing has been largely accepted as a model for face processing, however, it fails to account for differential processing based on race. MacLin and MacLin (in press) propose the presence of a cognitive gating mechanism (CGM) that suggests different processing strategies are used for in-group and out-group members. To date, the model has only been examined using novel stimuli. The present research examined the model using famous and nonfamous African-American and Caucasian faces to determine if the CGM adequately explains the recognition of familiar faces. Reaction times and eye-movements were recorded while participants completed a racial categorization task or famousness classification task. Results indicate that familiarity with a face indeed plays a role in the processing of own- and other-race faces. Reaction times and eye-movements differed as a function of race, fame, and task type. Implications for a modified version of the CGM and other existing face models are discussed.

Year of Submission


Year of Award

2011 Award

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Otto H. MacLin, Chair, Thesis Committee


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 63 pages)



File Format