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“Oh sorry, I thought you were the other Asian…”

April 29th, 2013 4 comments

asian girls

Learning names is a challenge for most of us, and we all occasionally have that one person we just can’t quite remember. But is there a pattern who we remember and who we don’t? If you belong to a minority, as I do, there’s probably been at least one time when you’ve probably been frustrated and offended because people seem to always confuse you with the few other members of your race. For example, I was one of the only two Asian girls in my high school. This inevitably led to teachers calling me Jane half the time, and Cathy the other half. But should we be offended? Or is there actual legitimacy behind this unintentional racism? The cross-race effect in memory is the idea that humans are actually better at remembering faces that are the same race as them, relative to other races. Hourihan, Fraundorf, and Benjamin further analyzed this effect in their 2013 study on how cross-race effect relates to face memory.

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