Two experiments assessed how racial ambiguity and racial salience moderates the cross-race effect (CRE). In experiment 1, White and Black participants studied and identified the race of Asian, Black, Latino, and White faces that varied in ethnic typicality (high or low ET). For White participants, the CRE was larger when comparing high-ET White faces to high-ET other-race faces than low-ET other-race faces. Black participants showed a similar CRE reduction by ethnic typicality, but also showed a less prevalent CRE than White participants. Experiment 2 replicated experiment
1 procedures, but without the race identification task and only with White participants. Experiment 2 findings were comparable to experiment 1. Furthermore, experiment 2 showed a noticeably smaller CRE on Black faces than experiment 1, eliciting questions about increased racial salience amplifying the CRE. Results’ general implications and the conceptual roots that indirectly link the CRE and racism will be discussed.