The Other Race Effect

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The purpose of the article by Wells and Olson (2001) was to investigate research on the other-race effect and its causes as well as propose possible reforms to the justice system to deal with problems caused by the other-race effect. This article is relevant to the fields of law and psychology because cross-racial identification happens often in the justice system and can result in wrongful conviction.
The other-race effect is not an absolute, other facts determined by many factors such the eyewitness’ experience with face from a different race, how distinctive the facial features are, delay between encoding of the face and recognition, among others. However there are some concerns with the design of many of the experiments used to test the
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Doyle(2001) hypothesized that White Americans are more willing to guess when identifying someone Black than someone of their own race. There are however two potential problems with this hypothesis: one, liberal responses can occur for reasons other than the change in the race the suspect and two, this same effect is seen when a Black person identifies a White person as opposed to someone of their race. Goldstein and Chance (1979) challenges the commonly held assumption that physiognomic variation between races is what makes cross-racial identification difficult by suggesting that there are no physiognomic variation between races. Sporer (2001a) stated that when a person encounters the face of a person from a different race, they categorize the face based on in-group and out-group membership. The categorization step does not happen when identifying someone of the same race. In MacLin and Malpass(2001) the other-race was achieved by changing one feature on a racial-ambiguous…show more content…
In an analysis, American police made systematic and avoidable mistakes such as asking too many close-ended question that limited the amount of information they could obtain from eyewitnesses. Cognitive interview attempts to correct by addressing three elements of the interview. These three elements are developing a rapport with eyewitness, encouraging memory of eyewitness by asking open-ended questions and keeping the interview slow pace, and maintaining good communication with eyewitness. Use of cognitive interviews as compared to traditional police interviews, elicited between 35% and 75% more information with no impact on incorrect response rates.
Eyewitnesses should be informed prior to the lineup that the perpetrator may or may not be in the lineup, doing this reduces mistaken identification in perpetrator-absent lineups by 42%. Sequential lineup presentation should be used instead of simultaneous. The correct identification rates for both when the perpetrator is present but the mistaken identification rate is 43% for simultaneous and 17% for sequential when target is
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