Facial-based ethnic recognition: insights from two closely related but ethnically distinct groups

Authors

  • V. Coetzee Department of Genetics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. Present address:School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, St Mary's Quad, South Street, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9JP, Scotland.
  • J. Greeff Department of Genetics, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.
  • L. Barrett Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada. Department of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.
  • S. Henzi Department of Psychology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada. Department of Psychology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.

Abstract

Previous studies on facial recognition have considered widely separated populations, both geographically and culturally, making it hard to disentangle effects of familiarity with an ability to identify ethnic groups per se.We used data from a highly intermixed population of African peoples from South Africa to test whether individuals from nine different ethnic groups could correctly differentiate between facial images of two of these, the Tswana and Pedi. Individuals could not assign ethnicity better than expected by chance, and there was no significant difference between genders in accuracy of assignment. Interestingly, we observed a trend that individuals of mixed ethnic origin were better at assigning ethnicity to Pedi and Tswanas, than individuals from less mixed backgrounds. This result supports the hypothesis that ethnic recognition is based on the visual

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Published

2010-02-01

How to Cite

Coetzee, V., Greeff, J., Barrett, L., & Henzi, S. (2010). Facial-based ethnic recognition: insights from two closely related but ethnically distinct groups. South African Journal of Science, 105(11/12), 464–466. Retrieved from https://sajs.co.za/article/view/10231