London, May 11 (IANS) White people have a harder time reading emotions on black people’s faces than they do on white faces, say researchers.
The study, published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, showed that the whites find it difficult to differentiate between “genuine” and “fake” emotions on black people’s faces as they fail to make an eye contact with the blacks.
For the study, the researchers from the University of Granada, Spain included 425 participants and conducted six experiments.
During the experiments, the participants were shown the smiling faces of white or black people, and were asked to rate the level of happiness they perceived in the images. Some faces showed a genuine smile, while others presented forced or fake smiles.
The researchers demonstrated how important it is to make an eye contact and pay attention to individuals’ gaze when attempting to explain how we form our impressions about others.
“Using eye-tracking equipment, we showed that paying attention to people’s eyes also helps us to detect important characteristics in our perceptions and in how we form our impressions about others, such as the distinction between genuine or ‘faked’ emotions,” said Rosa RodrAguez Bailon, Professor at University of Granada, Spain.
The study’s findings showed that the white participants failed to differentiate between genuine and false smiles on black people’s faces. However, they correctly identified smiles as genuine or false — when the images they were shown were of other white people.
“We found that the length of time the white participants devoted to looking into the eyes of other white people in the photographs explained this difference. Again, when the white participants were asked to look just as deeply into the eyes of both black and white people, this difference also disappeared,” noted RodrAguez.