The cross-race effect (CRE) is the tendency for eyewitnesses to be better at recognizing members of their own race/ethnicity than members of other races/ethnicities. It manifests in terms of both better discrimination (i.e., telling apart previously seen from new targets) and a more conservative response criterion for own-race than for other-race faces.The CRE is quite robust and generally resistant to change. Two studies examined the effectiveness of reducing the CRE with special instructions given prior to retrieval. Although instructions at retrieval did change participants’ response criterion -- making them less likely to identify test faces as previously seen -- they did not shift their response criterion selectively for other-race faces. The findings indirectly support the importance of encoding processes in producing the CRE.
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