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Cross-Race Effect in Eyewitness Identification

The cross-race effect (CRE, also referred to as the own-race bias or other-race effect) is a facial recognition phenomenon in which individuals show superior performance in identifying faces of their own race when compared with memory for faces of another, less familiar race. Over three decades of research on the CRE suggests a rather robust phenomenon that carries practical implications for cases of mistaken eyewitness identification, particularly in situations that involve a poor opportunity to encode other-race faces and when a significant amount of time occurs between observation of the perpetrator and a test of the witness's memory. While the CRE has not generally been observed in the accuracy of descriptions for own-race versus other-race faces, research has found that individuals often attend to ...

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