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)
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
StateAccepted/In press - 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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