Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Lisa J. Rapport


Own-race bias (ORB) is a well-documented phenomenon that may influence face memory, such that face memory is improved when the observed target matches the observer’s racial background. However, the clinical measures widely used in neuropsychological evaluations lack racial diversity that may disenfranchise and disadvantage minority patients. Further, these existing measures have been criticized for having inconsistent visual contrast and facial content, as well as too much variability of non-facial information which may confound its acceptability as a measure of face memory specifically. To address these limitations, standardized, multicultural images with validated facial expressions (Beaupré et al., 2000) were used to create the Multicultural Facial Recognition Test (MCFR) to evaluate face recognition memory and ORB in a clinically relevant sample of persons with acquired brain injuries.

Method: One-hundred fifteen adults (63 Black, 52 White) with history of acquired brain injury participated. The participants ranged in age from 18 to 79 and were on average 12 years post injury. Participants completed a battery of cognitive tests, including the MCFR, the criterion Warrington Recognition Memory Test (RMT-F), and a post-test survey to provide consumer feedback on the MCFR.

Results: Internal consistency reliability of the MCFR was low, but the MCFR showed evidence of convergent validity as expected by theory. The MCFR correlated with the RMT-F and a measure of visual memory. However, the patterns of correlations among the MCFR and the cognitive measures differed significantly for Black and White participants. Additionally, evidence for ORB was present; however, this finding was only significant among Black participants. Although both racial groups performed best on the RMT-F, both groups also endorsed preferring the MCFR over the RMT-F.

Conclusions: The findings support evidence of ORB, but also suggest that ORB may be differently experienced by ABI patients of different racial groups. These findings highlight the need to include multicultural stimuli in the development of valid tests of face memory, as well as, the necessity to include multicultural participants in clinical research, as findings from the dominant culture may not generalized to minority populations. Further evaluation of the psychometric properties of the MCFR should be pursued.

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