Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2003


Published in Law and Human Behavior, 27:5 (October 2003), pp. 471–480. Copyright © 2003 American Psychology- Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychology Association. Published by Springer Verlag. Used by permission.


Black and White mock jurors’ sensitivity to the cross-race effect was investigated by varying the race of the eyewitness in a simulated murder trial of a Black defendant. Participants heard an audiotape of a trial after which they rendered a verdict and rated the credibility of the witnesses. White participants found the prosecution witnesses (including the eyewitness) more credible, and the defense witness less credible, than did Black participants; they were also more likely to find the defendant guilty. The Black eyewitness was perceived as more credible than was the White eyewitness, but eyewitness race had no effect on verdict. These results are consistent with the literature indicating that jurors of different races reach different verdicts, and also that jurors are relatively insensitive to factors that affect eyewitness testimony, such as the cross-race effect.