Perceptual Identification and Memory for Own- and Other-Race/Ethnic Persons
Christian A. Meissner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso
Program Director, Law & Social Sciences, National Science Foundation
Thursday, February 24, 2011
4 - 6 p.m. (Talk followed by light reception)
Several decades of psychological research has demonstrated that identification of other-race/ethnic persons is more difficult when compared with performance on own-race/ethnic persons. This phenomenon has implications for both eyewitness identification in forensic settings, as well as the identification of “persons of interest” by national security, military, or intelligence personnel. The current presentation will describe our attempts to understand the practical boundaries of the phenomenon in forensic and national security contexts, as well as examine the relevance of the effect for the development of automated (computerized) facial identification systems. The presentation will also discuss our research assessing the theoretical mechanisms that underlie the effect, and the implications of such mechanisms for improving identification and memory of other-race/ethnic persons.