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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Lisa J. Rapport


Own-Race Bias (ORB) describes having relatively greater difficulty discriminating faces from racial groups different from our own. The Contact Hypothesis theorizes ORB is facilitated by familiarity. This hypothesis was tested using a Multicultural Facial Emotion Perception Test (MFEPT) and a novel questionnaire tapping racial mix of social networks currently and during adolescence. Participants were 231 adults (125 Black, 106 White): 112 healthy and 120 with acquired brain injury (ABI). Among healthy adults, older adults in both racial groups showed greater accuracy for own-race targets. Healthy young Black adults showed an opposite pattern (greater accuracy for White targets), possibly due to hypervigilance. Correlations between highschool-age multicultural-familiarity and MFEPT were observed among three of the four groups. ORB effects were relatively attenuated among ABI participants, likely due to global effects of brain injury. Future studies should explore underlying mechanisms of ORB and develop interventions to address the effect of ORB in society.

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