The Categorization-Individuation Model: An Integrative Account of the Other-Race Recognition Deficit

Kurt Hugenberg, Steven G. Young, Michael J. Bernstein, Donald F. Sacco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

393 Citations (SciVal)


The other-race effect (ORE), or the finding that same-race faces are better recognized than other-race faces, is one of the best replicated phenomena in face recognition. The current article reviews existing evidence and theory and proposes a new theoretical framework for the ORE, which argues that the effect results from a confluence of social categorization, motivated individuation, and perceptual experience. This categorization-individuation model offers not only a parsimonious account of both classic and recent evidence for category-based biases in face recognition but also links the ORE to broader evidence and theory in social cognition and face perception. Finally, the categorization-individuation model makes a series of novel predictions for how the ORE can be exacerbated, attenuated, or even eliminated via perceptual and motivational processes, both by improving other-race recognition and by reducing same-race recognition. The authors propose that this new model for the ORE also leads to applied interventions that differ sharply from other theories of the ORE, while simultaneously providing an integrative theoretical framework for future research on the ORE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1168-1187
Number of pages20
JournalPsychological Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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