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Cross-racial lineup identification: assessing the potential benefits of context reinstatement

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The current research examined the potential benefit of context reinstatement on the cross-race effect in lineup identification. Participants viewed a series of own- and other-race faces and subsequently attempted identification of these faces from target-present and target-absent lineups. The traditional cross-race effect was found on measures of discrimination accuracy and response bias; however, discrimination accuracy across own- and other-race faces was shown to interact with context reinstatement such that only own-race faces benefited from the provision of contextual information. This finding is discussed in light of encoding-based theories of the cross-race effect, and with regard to the theoretical and practical limitations of mitigating the phenomenon at the time of identification.

Keywords: context reinstatement; cross-racial identification; eyewitness identification; lineup identification; memory

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Florida International University, Miami, FL, USA 2: Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2009


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