Eyewitnesses’ blindness for changes in one’s own- and other-race lineup identification



In this study, we examine how the other-race effect (ORE) impacts eyewitnesses’ ability to detect changes in their own identification decisions. We hypothesized that participants who perform other- compared with own-race identifications would be less likely to detect when their identification decision is manipulated. To test this hypothesis, Black (n=40) and White African (n=43), as well as Black (n=22) and White European (n=40) participants, were asked to identify Caucasian targets. Participants watched four mock crime films and made several identifications from simultaneous target-present and target-absent lineups. Forty-eight hours later, participants had to justify their identification decisions for the perpetrators. For two of the four identifications participants were confronted with a non-previously identified lineup member. Next to a significant ORE, we found that participants who made other-race identifications were less likely to detect the manipulations (27%) than participants who made own-race identifications (47%). Interracial contact did not affect detection ability. Unexpectedly, rejections that were turned into positive identifications were not more likely to be detected than interchanged identification decisions. The decreased detection rates for other- versus own-race identifications speaks for worse monitoring at retrieval for other-race faces.
Date made available30 Jun 2021

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