The Department of Psychology Kenneth L. Smoke Colloquium Series presents,
Reginal B. Adams, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
The Pennsylvania State University
"Cross-group reading the mind in the eyes: The role of social-categorization in mental state reasoning and memory."
Abstract: Across time and culture--even species—the eyes are a particularly powerful facial cue. Folk wisdom asserts that "the eyes are the window of the soul" and empirical science corroborates a prominent role for the eyes in human social communication. In this talk, I will review a series of studies examining variation in the ability “read” the eyes of others as a function of social category memberships, using a common socio-perceptual task of mental state reasoning, the “Reading the Mind in Eyes” (RME) test. The original version of this test includes only White models. To conduct the current work, we generated an Asian version of the RME with collaborators at Kyoto University and a U.S. Black version at Penn State University. First, we found a pronounced intracultural advantage in mental state decoding (i.e., better performance for same- versus other-culture) in both native Japanese and U.S. White participants. In a series of follow-up studies using the Asian, White, and Black RME, we found this advantage was readily replicable using the more generalizable cross-race paradigm. Next, we examined the role of arbitrarily assigned school affiliations on RME performance. For students high in school pride, same- versus other-school affiliation yielded the predicted intra-group advantage (i.e., same- versus other-school) and significantly reduced cross-race effects. Finally, extending this work further, we provide evidence for a potential mediating role of mental state reasoning on downstream effects on face memory, finding that the cross-race effect on RME performance predicts subsequent cross-race memory of these same faces.
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 4:00 PM
Science Center 300