Gender Biases in Eyewitness Memory: Recall and Recognition

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Melissa A. Baker (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Paul A. Fox

Abstract: This 2 (participant gender: male, female) × 2 (criminal gender: male, female) × 3 (timing of the witness description: immediately, 1-4 days later, or not at all) factorial study examined gender differences in eyewitness memory for both recall and recognition. Participants viewed a brief breaking and entering video and 1-4 days later attempted to identify the criminal in a 6-person simultaneous lineup. Previous research has supported issues relative to cross-racial identification to the extent that juries in some states now require jury briefing concerning that effect. Mixed results have been found relative to cross-gender identification. Contrary to the female superiority main effect, my results indicated that females were not significantly better at describing (recalling) or identifying (recognizing) criminals in lineups compared to male eyewitnesses. However, female eyewitnesses did provide longer descriptions of criminals compared to male eyewitnesses. Inconsistent with the own-gender bias, interactions between participant gender and criminal gender showing that eyewitnesses were better at describing and identifying criminals who were of their own gender were not found. As expected, there was no relationship between eyewitness’ descriptions of the criminal and the accuracy of their identifications. When recall was examined as a function of time of recall after viewing the crime video, no differences were found between the immediate recall group’s and the delayed recall group’s descriptions of the criminal. However, when identifications were examined as a function of the time after which participants were asked to recall a criminal’s description after viewing a crime, improved identification accuracy was observed for the delayed recall group compared to the immediate recall group.

Additional Information

Baker M.A. (2015). Gender Biases in Eyewitness Memory: Recall and Recognition. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015
own-gender bias, female-superiority effect, eyewitness memory, recall, recognition

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