Cultural Predictors of Facial Ethnicity Preference in the Miskitu and Mestizos of Rural Nicaragua

Jean Luc Jucker, Tracey Thornborrow, Carlota Batres, I. M. Penton-Voak, Mark A. Jamieson, D. Michael Burt, W. N. Bowie, Martin J. Tovée, Lynda G. Boothroyd*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Both basic visual experience and cultural associations with race and ethnicity may contribute to the extent observers do or do not favor some facial ethnicity cues over others. Given that visual media contain a highly biased selection of faces, with Whiteness both over-represented and strongly privileged in film and television, communities for whom visual media are relatively novel may experience an additional, pervasive source of attitudes to facial ethnicity markers. In the current research, we compared individuals of Mestizo and Miskitu identities living in communities on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua with, and without, regular access to television on their relative preference for facial stimuli manipulated to look more or less White (Black vs White, Black vs Mestizo, Mestizo vs White). Results showed that all communities showed an overall preference for images with lighter skin, although changes in facial shape did not affect preferences. Those who had attended more years of education preferred whiter faces than those with less education, and those who watched more television preferred whiter faces more only where color (rather than shape) had been manipulated. Results are discussed in terms of the broader relations around ethnicity, status, and technological transition in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Early online date29 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Feb 2024

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