Subjects. Forty-four university students (22 females, 22 males), aged 20-24 years, with normal or corrected vision, all correctly understood the experimental task and signed an informed consent form before the start of the experiment.
Study Design. The current study used a 2 (starter stimulus: high social status scene pictures/low social status scene pictures) × 2 (racial faces: other-race faces - Caucasian faces; own-race faces - Asian faces) × 2 (social status: high social status occupation labels - doctor, university professor, military officer, CEO; low social status occupation labels - civilian worker, courier, waiter, cleaner) in-subject experimental design.
Study Materials. The face pictures and occupation labels were identical to those in Study 1, except for the eight starter pictures. The eight starter stimuli were scene pictures matching their occupational identities. All these scene pictures were selected from a Chinese context. For example, the starter stimulus picture of a CEO’s face was the picture of a CEO who was on the Hurun Top 100 Rich List.
Study Procedures. To correctly distinguish the social status of different faces, the current study uses the background color for this purpose. A guideline on the meaning of the background is given below:
The background color represents the social status of the face members. The members in the yellow background have higher social status, higher social prestige, and some special power in the society, while the members in the green background are usually at the bottom of the society, have lower salaries, and less respected jobs. Your task is to try to remember and distinguish the differences between the faces, especially those appearing in yellow. To balance the effect of the background color on the recall performance, each face picture is presented in green or yellow.
After the instructions have been presented, the experiment begins when the subject has read and understood the instructions and the meaning of the background color. The study procedures were the same as in Study 2, except for the following two differences (see Figure 2): (1) the 800 ms black gaze point presented during the learning phase became an 800 ms priming stimulus, and (2) the face presentation during the learning phase was a paired presentation of Caucasian and Asian faces, with the same occupational identity and a presentation time of 4000 ms.
Subjects' hit condition rate, misrepresentation condition rate, discriminative index d' and reporting criteria C for pictures of faces of different races and social statuses, during the recognition phase, are shown in Table 2. Discriminative index (d'): using the discrimination indicator d' for subjects' recognition of different types of faces as the dependent variable (see Figure 3), a 2 (face race: other-race face, native face) × 2 (social status: high social status occupation label, low social status occupation label) repeated measures ANOVA was conducted. Results showed that subjects' discriminative index d' for faces with high social status occupation labels, d' (M = 0.64, SD = 0.09 ) was significantly better than that for faces with low social status occupation labels, d' (M = 0.21, SD = 0.09 ), F (1, 43) = 12.08, p < 0.01, ηp2= 0.21. Subjects' discrimination for faces of different races did not differ significantly, F (1, 43) = 0.96, p > 0.05, ηp2 = 0.05. The interaction between race and social status was significant, F (1, 43) = 4.50, p < 0.05, ηp2 = 0.02. A subsequent simple effects analysis of the interaction found that when faces were native faces, subjects' discriminatory index for faces with high social status occupations d ' (M = 0.83, SD = 0.14) was significantly higher than the discriminatory indicator d' for faces with low social status occupations (M = 0.12, SD = 0.14), F (1, 43) = 5.86, p < 0.05. When racial faces were other-race faces, subjects' discriminatory index d’ for faces with high social status occupations (M = 0.44, SD = 0.09) and the discriminative index d' (M = 0.30, SD = 0.10) for faces with low social status occupations were not significantly different, F (1, 43) = 1.01, p > 0.05. The above results indicate that subjects showed high recognition advantages for high social status faces when recognizing own-race faces with different social statuses, but they did not show the recognition advantages for high social status faces when recognizing other-race faces with different social statuses.
Table 2. Average hit rate, misrepresentation rate, d', and C in Study 2
Reporting Criteria C: Subjects' reporting criteria for faces of different social status did not differ significantly, F (1, 43) = 1.04, p > 0.05. Subjects' reporting criteria for pictures of faces of different races did not differ significantly, F (1, 43) = 1.47, p > 0.05. The interaction between racial faces and social status was significant, F (1, 43) = 23.39, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.35. A subsequent simple effects analysis of the interaction found that subjects reported significantly higher criteria C (M = 0.08, SD = 0.10) for high social status faces when racial face was other-race face, than for low social status faces (M = -0.24, SD = 0.10), F (1, 43) = 16.01, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.27. When the racial face was an own-race face, subjects reported criteria C (M = -0.12, SD = 0.10) more leniently for high social status faces, than for faces with low social occupational status (M = 0.18, SD = 0.11), F (1, 43) = 6.61, p < 0.01, ηp2= 0.13.
Study 2 focused on the impact of motivation on the ORE in the opposite direction by attenuating subjects' perceptions of the social status of other-race faces and, in turn, attenuating subjects' motivation to individualize the processing of other-race faces through the principles of paired presentation and priming paradigms. The results showed that subjects had a reduced advantage in recognizing other-race faces with high social status, suggesting that attenuated motivation reduced subjects' recognition performance in identifying high social status other-race faces. It was also found that individuals' recognition scores for high social status own-race faces were significantly higher and better than those for low social status own-race faces, suggesting that the priming stimuli and paired presentation manipulations increased subjects' motivation to individualize and process own-race faces, which further confirms the important role of motivation in the ORE.