The company one keeps: Understanding social context effects in 'other-race' face recognition

   School of Psychological Science

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  Dr Susanne Quadflieg  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The so-called ‘other-race’ effect in face perception (= a poorer ability to recognize ‘other-race’ compared to ‘own-race’ faces) is one of the best replicated phenomena in psychology. Though well known to generalise across populations and research paradigms, little is known about the effect’s real-world prevalence and context-dependency. It remains particularly unclear how getting to know strangers in social situations (e.g., accompanied by same-race or cross-race friends) modulates our ability to remember their faces. Drawing on contemporary models of motivated perception and relational impression formation, the current project therefore aims to scrutinize how recognizing others depends on the social circumstances of our first encounter with them. The project will rely on experimental techniques from behavioural science in order to clarify how social context can benefit (or hinder) facial recognition. It may, for example, involve quantitative studies that expose adult perceivers to different types of relationship photographs as commonly found on social media platforms (e.g., on Instagram) in order to investigate how viewers’ memories for other people’s faces depends on the photographs’ racial diversity. The project is ideal for a person who is interested in receiving advanced training in experimental and social psychology. The successful applicant will be based at the School of Psychological Science at the University of Bristol and train under the primary supervision of Dr. Susanne Quadflieg.

Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

This project is available to international students who wish to self-fund their PhD or who have access to their own funding. Please contact the PGR administrators in the Faculty of Life Sciences for information about the project and how to apply ([Email Address Removed]).
How to apply: Please make an online application for this project at
Please select the relevant PhD programme on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of this PhD studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

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