Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Riverside

UC Riverside Previously Published Works bannerUC Riverside

Real‐life outgroup exposure, self‐reported outgroup contact and the other‐race effect


People are better at recognizing faces from their own racial or ethnic group compared with faces from other racial or ethnic groups, known as the other-'race' effect (ORE). Several theories of the ORE assume that memory for other-race faces is impaired because people have less contact with members of other racial or ethnic groups, resulting in lower visual expertise. The present research investigates contact theories of the ORE, using self-report contact measures and objective measures of potential outgroup exposure (estimated from participants' residential location and from GPS tracking). Across six studies (total N = 2660), we observed that White American and White German participants displayed better memory for White faces compared with Black or Middle Eastern faces, whereas Black American participants displayed similarly equal or better memory for White compared with Black faces. We did not observe any relations between the ORE and objective measures of potential outgroup exposure. Only in Studies 2a and 2b, we observed very small correlations (rs = -.08 to .06) between 4 out of 30 contact measures and the ORE. We discuss methodological limitations and implications for theories of the ORE.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View