Folk wisdom asserts that "the eyes are the window to the soul," and empirical science corroborates a prominent role for the eyes in the communication of emotion. Herein we examine variation in the ability to "read" the eyes of others as a function of social group membership, employing a widely used emotional state decoding task: "Reading the Mind in Eyes." This task has documented impaired emotional state decoding across racial groups, with cross-race performance on par with that previously reported as a function of autism spectrum disorders. The present study extended this work by examining the moderating role of social identity in such impairments. For college students more highly identified with their university, cross-race performance differences were not found for judgments of "same-school" eyes but remained for "rival-school" eyes. These findings suggest that impaired emotional state decoding across groups may thus be more amenable to remediation than previously realized.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes