Psychological research has consistently demonstrated that individuals are better at discriminating faces of their own race when compared with faces of another, less familiar race. Given the racial/ethnic diversity of individuals screened by security personnel at transportation and border checkpoints, it is important to understand whether the cross-race effect may play a role in simultaneous perceptual discrimination tasks that mimic such screening operations. Three experiments assessed the deleterious effects of cross-racial identification in this context. Results demonstrated greater discrimination accuracy for own- versus other-race faces, and a propensity for screeners to be overconfident in their decisions, particularly for other-race persons. Further, perceived age differences between the target and his identification photo and the use of a disguise were found to moderate cross-race effects during this task.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/christian_meissner/66/