There are a number of factors that can influence eyewitness identification and research suggests that race and gender are two of the most influential. Previous studies have found that people are much better at recognizing individuals who are similar to themselves or from an in-group than individuals who are different from themselves or from an out-group. The presence of a weapon has also been found to have a substantial impact on face recognition. Twenty-six undergraduate students completed a face recognition test. It was expected that there would be a weapon focus effect, and that it would have a stronger influence on recognition for female faces. Additionally, it was expected that female subjects would display better overall recognition as compared to their male counterparts. Findings moved in the predicted direction with females performing slightly better overall and recognizing more female faces than male faces. A general weapon focus effect was not found. However, females displayed slightly better recognition for faces with a neutral object as compared to faces with a weapon. These findings suggest that the weapon focus effect may be stronger among female subjects, which should be explored further in future research.

Keywords: face recognition, eyewitness identification, cross-gender, weapon focus


Gillund, Gary



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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