Labelling faces as ‘Autistic’ reduces the inversion effect
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Does the belief that a face belongs to an individual with autism affect recognition of that face? To address this question, we used the inversion effect as a marker of face recognition. In Experiment 1, participants completed a recognition task involving upright and inverted faces labelled as either 'regular' or 'autistic'. In reality, the faces presented in both conditions were identical. Results revealed a smaller inversion effect for faces labelled as autistic. Thus, simply labelling a face as 'autistic' disrupts recognition. Experiment 2 showed a larger inversion effect after the provision of humanizing versus dehumanizing information about faces labelled as 'autistic'. We suggest changes in the inversion effect could be used as a measure to study stigma within the context of objectification and dehumanization.
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