Can intentional forgetting reduce the cross-race effect in memory?

Huiyu Ding, Jonathon Whitlock, Lili Sahakyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Across three studies, we utilized an item-method directed forgetting (DF) procedure with faces of different races to investigate the magnitude of intentional forgetting of own-race versus other-race faces. All three experiments shared the same procedure but differed in the number of faces presented. Participants were presented with own-race and other-race faces, each followed by a remember or forget memory instruction, and subsequently received a recognition test for all studied faces. We obtained a robust cross-race effect (CRE) but did not find a DF effect in Experiment 1. Experiments 2 and 3 used shorter study and test lists and obtained a significant DF effect along with significant CRE, but no interaction between face type and memory instruction. The results suggest that own-race and other-race faces are equally susceptible to DF. The results are discussed in terms of the theoretical explanations for CRE and their implications for DF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1387-1396
Number of pages10
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Cross-race effect
  • Directed forgetting
  • Face recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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