Document Type



Master of Arts



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Bettina J. Casad


Bettina J. Casad

Carissa Philippi

Michael G. Griffin


Other-race-effect or own-race bias is a well-documented phenomenon in memory. Findings suggest that humans are better at recognizing and remembering faces of their own race than other races. Previous research suggests that these results are due to a lack of interracial contact or exposure to other racial groups. Evidence from previous studies has demonstrated that individuals process own-race faces differently than other-race faces, paying more attention to more salient features that become better encoded. While there is empirical support for both hypotheses, it has yet to be studied if the other-race effect for memory extends to representational human faces, for instance, emojis. Emojis are digital pictures used for electronic communication of emotions, expressions, and meaning. The current study examined if the other-race effect for recognition memory extended to people emojis. Black (n = 47) and White (n = 47) participants viewed both light/medium-light skin tone and dark/medium-dark skin tone emojis. Participants completed a cooperation task and a memory computer task. Results indicated that there was no difference in memory or cooperation for same-race or other-race faces. However, Black participants that held their racial identity in more positive regard were marginally more likely to remember dark and medium-dark emoji faces. Additionally, Black participants that were more satisfied with their skin color were significantly more likely to remember dark and medium-dark emoji faces. Overall, participants cooperated significantly more with emoji faces than human faces. White participants higher in empathy were marginally more likely to cooperate with Black and dark/medium-dark partners than those lower in empathy. These results suggest that individual differences can moderate own-race bias even for emoji faces.