Is person categorization modulated by exemplar typicality?

Vance Locke, C.N. Macrae, J.L. Eaton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


A dominant theme in social cognition is that people routinely simplify the person perception process by categorizing others on the basis of the social groups to which they belong. However, despite an extensive literature documenting the cognitive benefits of this strategy, a number of unresolved issues remain. In particular, how important is categorical fit to the process of person categorization? Are perceivers sensitive to variations in exemplar typicality? Using a flanker task and morphed facial stimuli, we investigated this issue by examining the extent to which categorical information is extracted from faces in which the features of two racial categories (i.e., Asian and Caucasian) are blended to varying degrees. The results revealed that participants are indeed sensitive to variations in exemplar typicality, even when their attention is not explicitly directed to the critical triggering stimuli. The theoretical and practical implications of this finding are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-428
JournalSocial Cognition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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