The Cross-Race Effect In Facial Recognition Memory

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In July 1984 Jennifer Thompson, a 22-year old white woman, was raped by a black man in her apartment. A man named Ronald Cotton was arrested and identified by Thompson in a line-up and a phot-spread. According to her interview with CBS’s 60 minutes in 1999, Thompson explained how she was confident in her identification. In 1985, Cotton’s conviction of raping Thompson was based largely on her identification. While in prison, two years later, a fellow inmate of Cotton confessed to the rape of Jennifer Thompson. However, it wasn’t until 1995 when DNA showed that Ronald Cotton was innocent. According to the Innocence Project, Ronald Cotton spent 10 years in prison before being exonerated. The identification of criminals correctly and consistently…show more content…
The idea of the level of contact with other races influences facial recognition has also been reviewed in past research. The contact hypothesis predicts that the amount of cross-race interaction an individual experiences will be a strong predictor of cross-race facial recognition ability (Ng & Lindsay, 1994). The cross-race effect in recognition memory can be reversed following the contact levels during childhood. For example, Korean adults who were adopted into Caucasian families as children perform like Caucasians would on a cross-race recognition tests (Sangrigoli, Pallier, Argenti, Ventureyra, & de Schonen, 2005). The contact hypothesis states that increased interactions with members of another race might lead to improved recognition for faces of that race (Malpass & Kravitz, 1969). Cross, Cross, and Daly found that for Blacks, racial environment had no measurable effect on recognition ability. Both integrated and segregated groups were able to recognize Black and White faces with equal facility (Cross, Cross, & Daly, 1971). Higher levels of self-reported contact with other race faces were associated with a reduction in the other-race effect in facial recognition (Hancock & Rhodes, 2008). There was no support found for own-race bias among neither Black or White clerks in Tallahassee, Florida; high rates of intergroup contact between convenience store clerks nor their customers;…show more content…
There has been a dramatic decline across America in segregation between blacks and non-blacks (Glaeser & Vigdor 2001). Many people are more likely to interact with other races today than they were ten years ago due this decline in segregation. The current research will use that as a basis when looking at facial recognition and the cross-race

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