Stereotypes & Face Perception

Human face perception is complex and multifaceted. The speed and accuracy with which we detect, recognize and process faces is influenced by many factors, including lower-level visual factors (such as size or brightness) and higher-level cognitive factors (such as self-relevance or familiarity). My work hereby mostly focusses on the effects of stereotypes. For example, in one series of projects we first investigated how face masks influence emotion recognition (Rinck, Primbs, Verpaalen, & Bijlstra, under review) and later followed up with work on how face masks influence the stereotype effect in emotion recognition (Primbs, Rinck, Holland, Knol, Wies, & Bijlstra, in prep.) In another project we investigated how the role of threat in the initial detection of faces (Bijlstra, Primbs, Mosannenzadeh, & Holland, in prep.). Across four studies we showed that priming threat facilitates the detection of ethnic out-group faces stereotypically associated with threat, but not of other out-group faces. This research line was the first to show that stereotypes can affect the initial detection of faces.