When Under Threat, We All Look the Same: Distinctiveness Threat Induces Ingroup Homogeneity in Face Memory

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The current research investigated the well-established outgroup homogeneity effect in face memory (worse recognition for outgroup faces than ingroup faces). Because past research has shown that group distinctiveness threat can enhance ingroup homogeneity, of interest in the current research was whether distinctiveness threat affects face recognition. Across two studies, we found that threatening White American participants' ethnic distinctiveness led to a reduction in same-race face recognition. In other words, distinctiveness threat created ingroup homogeneity in face memory. In both studies, distinctiveness threat led Whites' same-race recognition to drop to cross-race levels. Implications were discussed in terms of how the structure of intergroup relations may drive intergroup differences in face memory.



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