Dear colleagues,

We are happy to invite proposals for contributions to a forthcoming special issue “Bridging the gap between intergroup and face perception research: Understanding the mechanisms underlying the other-‘race’ effect” for the British Journal of Psychology (see details:

Interested authors should initially submit a proposal (including title, prospective author(s), affiliation(s), abstract with 200 words maximum) to no later than 1 March 2021.

We look forward to receiving your proposal.


More Details about this special issue:

“Bridging the gap between intergroup and face perception research: Understanding the mechanisms underlying the other-‘race’ effect”

Guest Editors: Marleen Stelter (Universität Hamburg), Stefan R. Schweinberger (University of Jena)

People experience difficulty recognizing faces from another ethnic group, a phenomenon termed the other-‘race’ effect[1] (ORE). Decades of research have established the ORE as highly robust and generalizing across cultural contexts. Given the large body of literature on the ORE, it might seem surprising that its underlying mechanism are still debated. This special issue aims to bridge different psychological subdisciplines to advance our understanding of the ORE.

There are two broad theoretical perspectives on the ORE. One school of thought highlights the role of intergroup contact, proposing that less perceptual expertise leads to impaired recognition of other-‘race’ faces. However, it remains unclear which kinds of contact can enhance recognition of other-‘race‘ faces. Another school of thought emphasizes socio-motivational factors, proposing that reduced motivation contributes to the ORE. Yet, how and under which conditions, motivational factors affect other-‘race‘ face recognition remains elusive. Furthermore, the degree to which different outgroup memory effects (e.g., for ‘race’, age, or gender) are based on similar psychological mechanisms remains unclear.

The two schools of thought on the ORE are grounded in two domains, neuro-cognitive psychology (e.g., face perception research) and experimental social psychology (e.g., intergroup research), which tend to emphasize expertise-based versus motivational accounts, respectively. Unfortunately, cross-talk between these domains remains sparse.

This special issue aims to enhance cross talk between psychological subdisciplines, to offer insights to researchers from both domains. For example, intergroup theorizing may provide insights about the impact of motivational processes on basic face perception. Conversely, theories of face perception may provide insights into the boundary conditions of motivational effects on the ORE.

We invite empirical papers or review articles focusing on one or more of the following topics. All contributions should adhere to the BJP author guidelines.

  • The impact of intergroup contact and expertise on the ORE
  • The impact of motivational factors and/or intergroup-attitudes on the ORE
  • Joint contribution of expertise and socio-motivational factors to the ORE
  • Cognitive mechanisms underlying the ORE
  • Mental representation: Strengths and limits of (norm-based) face space accounts of the ORE
  • Neural mechanisms underlying the ORE
  • Developmental aspects of the ORE
  • Consequences of the ORE
  • Comparison between the ORE and other group-based memory biases (i.e., age, gender)
  • Comparison between the ORE for faces and other social memory biases (i.e., voices, places)

Interested authors should initially submit an abstract (200 words maximum) to the following email address ( no later than 1 March 2021. Approved abstracts will receive invitations to proceed by 1 May 2021, and deadline for full submission is 1 October 2021. Please note that, to foster cross-field discussion, we expect to involve authors as reviewers for one or two other papers from the special issue.

Submission Dates and Deadlines:

Deadline for abstract submissions:                                         1 March 2021

Initial decisions from guest editors:                                         1 May 2021

Deadline for submission of full manuscripts:                           1 October 2021

Final submission of revised manuscripts:                                1 September 2022

Special Issue Publication:                                                        Issue 1 2023 (January 2023)

[1] In line with researchers in genetics (e.g., Tishkoff & Kidd, 2004, Nature Genetics), we enclose the term ‘race’ in quotation marks. By this, we acknowledge that the phenomenon under investigation is still commonly known as the ORE, although many researchers today agree that human races do not exist or are biologically meaningless (even if lay people might notice phenotypical similarities among people of the same geographical regions of the world).

Special issue of British Journal of Psychology on the other-‘race’ effect

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