Invisible own- and other-race faces presented under continuous flash suppression produce affective response biases

Jie Yuan, Xiaoqing Hu, Yuhao Lu, Galen V. Bodenhausen, Shimin Fu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


One triumph of the human mind is the ability to place the multitudinous array of people we encounter into in- and out-group members based on racial characteristics. One fundamental question that remains to be answered is whether invisible own- and other-race faces can nevertheless influence subsequent affective judgments. Here, we employed continuous flash suppression (CFS) to render own- and other-race faces unperceivable in an affective priming task. Both on-line and off-line awareness checks were employed to provide more stringent control of partial awareness. Results revealed that relative to own-race faces, imperceptible other-race faces significantly facilitated participants’ identification of negative words, suggesting an other-race derogation bias. When faces were presented consciously, we found that not only other-race faces facilitated detection of negative words, but also own-race faces facilitated detection of positive words. These findings together provide novel and strong evidence suggesting that invisible racial faces can bias affective responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Affective priming
  • Continuous flash suppression
  • Interocular suppression
  • Unconsciousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this