Event Title

Understanding the Effects of Familiarity on Cross-Race Eyewitness Identification Accuracy in Lineups (Faculty Sponsor: Alex Wooten)

Presenter Information

Soha Munir, Hollins University

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Start Date

8-5-2021 4:10 PM

End Date

8-5-2021 4:55 PM

Description

Soha Munir '23 “Understanding the Effects of Familiarity on Cross-Race Eyewitness Identification Accuracy in Lineups” (Faculty Sponsor: Alex Wooten)

To date, there have been 375 National DNA exonerations, with over 70% of cases involving eyewitness misidentification (Innocence Project, 2020). An alarming number of these cases have involved cross-race identifications. In eyewitness research, this phenomenon is known as the cross-race effect (CRE) in which participants are typically better at identifying suspects of their own race, compared to identifying suspects of a different race (e.g., Meissner & Brigham, 2001). One potential issue that has not been previously explored is the role of prior familiarity and its effect on the CRE in a lineup procedure. The purpose of this study is to test whether the cross-race effect will be influenced by prior familiarity between White and Black suspects in a lineup. Participants will study faces of White and Black individuals to create familiarity and later attempt to identify them from lineups where the suspect will be either familiar (studied earlier) or unfamiliar (completely new). This research will examine how eyewitnesses process and recognize unfamiliar and familiar faces for suspects of a different race in order to determine the reliability of such identifications for future cases and prevent more wrongful incarcerations as a result of cross-race identifications.

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May 8th, 4:10 PM May 8th, 4:55 PM

Understanding the Effects of Familiarity on Cross-Race Eyewitness Identification Accuracy in Lineups (Faculty Sponsor: Alex Wooten)

Soha Munir '23 “Understanding the Effects of Familiarity on Cross-Race Eyewitness Identification Accuracy in Lineups” (Faculty Sponsor: Alex Wooten)

To date, there have been 375 National DNA exonerations, with over 70% of cases involving eyewitness misidentification (Innocence Project, 2020). An alarming number of these cases have involved cross-race identifications. In eyewitness research, this phenomenon is known as the cross-race effect (CRE) in which participants are typically better at identifying suspects of their own race, compared to identifying suspects of a different race (e.g., Meissner & Brigham, 2001). One potential issue that has not been previously explored is the role of prior familiarity and its effect on the CRE in a lineup procedure. The purpose of this study is to test whether the cross-race effect will be influenced by prior familiarity between White and Black suspects in a lineup. Participants will study faces of White and Black individuals to create familiarity and later attempt to identify them from lineups where the suspect will be either familiar (studied earlier) or unfamiliar (completely new). This research will examine how eyewitnesses process and recognize unfamiliar and familiar faces for suspects of a different race in order to determine the reliability of such identifications for future cases and prevent more wrongful incarcerations as a result of cross-race identifications.