Own Race Bias

The Own Race Bias is the tendency to recognize and differentiate between faces of our own race more easily than faces of another race. This explains why someone might think that members of another racial or ethnic group “all look alike.”

Own race bias poses problems for eyewitness identification (for example, picking a criminal out of a line-up) because people are less accurate when identifying individual members of another race. In fact, research has shown that when the witness and suspect are of different races, the witness has a 50% chance of making the wrong identification. This phenomenon is probably not due to prejudiced attitudes but rather to a lack of exposure to people of other races and lack of practice perceiving that race’s facial features.