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No Race Effect (ORE) in the Automatic Orienting toward Baby Faces: When Ethnic Group does not matter

Author(s): Alice Mado Proverbio | Valeria De Gabriele | Mirella Manfredi | Roberta Adorni

Journal: Psychology
ISSN 2152-7180

Volume: 02;
Issue: 09;
Start page: 931;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Baby Schema | Face Processing | ORE Effect | Parental Instinct | Spatial Cueing | Automatic Orienting of Attention

It was shown that own (vs. other) race baby faces capture attention automatically whereas other race babies do not (Hodsoll et al., 2010). Other literature provided evidence of an innate preferential response to baby faces (baby schema effect). We investigated whether infant (vs. adult) faces automatically attracted attention (exogenous orienting), and whether this was modulated by ethnicity. 30 students took part in this study. Their task was to decide whether a lateralized target was upright or inverted. Targets were preceded by 400 baby or adult (Caucasian vs. non-Caucasian) faces shortly flashed in the same location, thus acting as spatial cues (valid/invalid). Results showed no effect of the ethnic group but of face age in speeding up RTs to targets preceded by baby faces. Significant costs for invalid locations cued by baby faces were also found (difficulty in disengagement). The data indicate how visual attention is literally captured by baby schema, independent of baby race.
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