Ethnic face categorization by Russians and Tuvinians in discrimination tasks



The opposite tendencies towards blurring the boundaries of compact living of ethnic groups and of relocation of large groups of strangers into the territories of compact residence of local groups generate a number of specific phenomena connected with the inter-group perception. We conducted a comparative study of perception and communication of transition series of “ethnic faces” among two small-scale isolated populations and representatives of the corresponding ethnic groups in multi-ethnic cities. The participants were to solve two discrimination task, one individually, the AB=X task, the other one, the dual “same-different” task, in dyads. For all samples of subjects, of In the AB=X task, the maximum discrimination efficiency was recorded for the same no. 2—3 pair of transition images series This may indicate that all subjects relied on the morphological features stimulus faces than on anything else. Also a tendency is observed toward similarity in the dynamics of efficiency of task performance in different groups of subjects, with the exception of the sample of Russians from the metropolis. At the same time, in the dyadic experiment, subjects from megacities demonstrate different trends in terms of the maximum efficiency of task performance. The sample of Russian subjects from Moscow demonstrates a significantly smaller decrease in efficiency when approaching the edges of the transitional series of stimulus images in the AB=X task, but not in the dual task. This is probably due to different nature of the tasks, i.e. one may easily suppose a more developed ability to perceptually discriminate between ethnic faces resulting from their greater variety in the environment, as in Moscow megacity, whereas it does not seem reasonable to suppose difference in communication skills required to perform the dual task across the samples.

General Information

Keywords: categorization, categorical perception, other-race effect, discrimination AB=X task, discrimination same-different dual task, face recognition, ethnic face, small-scale populations

Journal rubric: Psychology of Perception

Article type: scientific article


Funding. The study was performed as part of state assignment No. 25.3916.2017/ПЧ “Cross-cultural determinants of cognitive-communicative processes”.

For citation: Kharitonov A.N., Basiul I.A., Ananyeva K.I., Tovuu N.O. Ethnic face categorization by Russians and Tuvinians in discrimination tasks. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2019. Vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 120–141. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2019120410. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Alexandr N. Kharitonov, PhD in Psychology, Senior Researcher, Institute of Psychology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Scientific and Educational Center for Biopsychological Research, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis (NOCHU VO “Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis”); Leading Researcher at the Center for Experimental Psychology, Moscow State Psychological and Pedagogical University (FSBEI HE MGPPU), Deputy editor-in-chief of the scientific journal "Experimental Psychology", Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Ivan A. Basiul, Junior Researcher. Laboratory of Cognitive Processes and Mathematical Psychology, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Lecturer of the Department of General Psychology, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Research laboratory assistant, Institute of Experimental Psychology of MSPPU, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Kristina I. Ananyeva, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Research Fellow, Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Associate Professor, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis (Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis), Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Natalia O. Tovuu, Doctor of Psychology, Professor, Chief Researcher of the Laboratory of Regional Economics, Tuvinian Institute for Exploration of Natural Resources of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science, Kyzyl, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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