Differential Responses in the Fusiform Region to Same-Race and Other-Race Faces

By Alexandra J. GolbyJohn D. E. GabrieliJoan Y. ChiaoJennifer L. Eberhardt
Nature Neuroscience
August2001 Vol. 4 Pages 845–850.

Many studies have shown that people remember faces of their own race better than faces of other races. We investigated the neural substrates of same-race memory superiority using functional MRI (fMRI). European-American (EA) and African-American (AA) males underwent fMRI while they viewed photographs of AA males, EA males and objects under intentional encoding conditions. Recognition memory was superior for same-race versus other-race faces. Individually defined areas in the fusiform region that responded preferentially to faces had greater response to same-race versus other-race faces. Across both groups, memory differences between same-race and other-race faces correlated with activation in left fusiform cortex and right parahippocampal and hippocampal areas. These results suggest that differential activation in fusiform regions contributes to same-race memory superiority.