The effects of categorization and decision-making of Lorks and Adoks
The perception of human facial features closely relates to social categorization processes. In particular, the combination of certain facial features has been found to shape observer perception of friendliness and hostility—a crucial social task. Additional decisions based on facial feature categorization, such as identifying race, gender, and age, also have important social implications. Towsend et al. (2000), and, more recently, Wang and Busemeyer (2016), demonstrated that when making decisions about group membership and hostility from facial information, many decision-makers demonstrated non-contextuality. In those experiments, the non-informative features of the face were fixed. However, extensive face research has indicated that facial features are usually not perceived independently. The goal of our research was to investigate whether varying non-informative facial features would influence the compatibility of a group membership and individual hostility decision. Our study utilized faces of different skin tones and textures, genders, and ages, but followed the previous studies in basing the participant’s task solely on the face width and lip thickness. The additional variation did not lead to different patterns of contextuality, despite the fact that they likely influenced the perception of the features. In future research, we plan to explore this decision process through the lens of systems factorial technology to examine how the process of combining information is influenced by these factors.