Skin tone of targets, lineup type, and confidence levels in cross-racial identification
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The current experiment investigated facial recognition memory for own and other-race faces. Two variations (light-skin and dark-skin) were presented for the Black targets. The purpose of this experiment was to observe the effect of skin variations of Black targets, lineup type (target present vs. target absent), and confidence levels for identifications upon a White witnesses' memory. Ten white males therefore viewed a video staged event containing three male targets. The three targets consisted of a White male, Light-skin Black male, and Dark-skin Black male. After a 2-day interim, the male participants completed a facial recognition test consisting of six lineups each containing six color mug shots. A lineup type (target-present vs. target-absent) was presented for each racial category: White target-present; White target-absent; Light-skin Black target-present; Light-skin Black target-absent; Dark-skin Black target-present; Dark-skin target-absent. The hit rates (correct identification) and confidence level of a choice were measured for each lineup. An other-race effect was not established in this study. However, a significant difference occurred between the mean hit rates (correct identifications) for Dark-skin Black target-present lineups (DBpresent) and the mean hits for Dark-skin Black target-absent (DBabsent) lineups. This suggests that the darker the skin tone of a Black target, the less likely a White eyewitness is to identify the correct target in a target-present lineup. No other significant differences between groups were found.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 13-15).
Williamson, Jessica Lynne (2002). Skin tone of targets, lineup type, and confidence levels in cross-racial identification. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from