Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Heather Kleider - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Tracie Stewart

Third Advisor

Dr. David Washburn

Abstract

In eyewitness identification cases, suspect misidentification is the leading factor attributed to wrongful convictions (Scheck, Neufeld, & Dwyer, 2000), thus, it is of applied importance to identify factors that contribute to the false recollection of faces. One potential factor addressed in the current study was whether face memory and subsequent identification for other-race-faces is biased by the degree to which a target face posses facial features associated with ethnic identity. Individual differences in level of processing (global, local) and prejudice were tested as potential mechanisms contributing to biased judgments. In Experiment 1 a standard face recognition task revealed that prejudice, level of processing, and face-type interacted to predict recognition bias. In Experiment 2 results showed that positive misidentifications (i.e., choosing an incorrect foil) were more likely when a stereotypical versus non-stereotypical Black actor was witnessed committing the crime. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical and practical implications.

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