Stereotyping ricochet: Complex effects of racial distinctiveness on identification accuracy

Heather M. Kleider, Stephen Goldinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Studies show that distinctive (e. g., attractive) people are better remembered than typical people (B. L. Cutler & S. D. Penrod, 1995). We investigated the effect of a Black person's presence on recognition accuracy for surrounding White individuals. Regarding eyewitness accuracy for an event, we expected more errors for White targets accompanied by Black confederates (experimental condition) than by White confederates (control). A staged accident was witnessed by participants, followed by a lineup. In 3 experiments, identification accuracy decreased in the experimental conditions, relative to control. Further data suggested that attention focused on the Black confederate reduced memory for the other confederates at the event. This pattern did not generalize to a condition substituting garish hair color for race, suggesting that racial distinctiveness, rather than general physical distinctiveness, contributed to the prior results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-627
Number of pages23
JournalLaw and human behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Law


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