An own gender bias and the importance of hair in face recognition

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2003 Sep;114(1):101-14. doi: 10.1016/s0001-6918(03)00052-0.


There is a large literature on the own race bias, the finding that people are better at recognizing faces of people from their own race. Here an own gender bias is shown: Males are better at identifying male faces than female faces and females are better at identifying female faces than male faces. Encoding a person's hair is shown to account for approximately half of the own gender bias when measured using hit and false alarm rates. Remember/know judgements and confidence measures are taken. Encoding a person's hair is critical for having a "remember" recollective experience. Parallels with the own race bias and implications for eyewitness testimony are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Face*
  • Female
  • Hair*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recognition, Psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Visual Perception