Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor's Name

Stephen Charman

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Ronald Fisher

Third Advisor's Name

Lindsay Malloy

Keywords

lineup identification

Date of Defense

1-11-2013

Abstract

Law enforcement officials routinely rely on eyewitness identification evidence to solve crimes. Nonetheless, this form of evidence is prone to errors. Researchers have previously attempted to examine conditions under which such errors can be reduced. The present study examines whether giving witnesses an explicit not sure response option increases the accuracy of lineup identification decisions. 251 participants watched a mock crime video before viewing a lineup that either included the perpetrator, or was made up of innocent suspects. Results indicated that witnesses provided with a not sure option made fewer false identifications, fewer filler identifications, and a similar number of correct identifications as witnesses who were not provided with this option. Furthermore, these benefits occurred regardless of whether witnesses received otherwise biased or unbiased instructions. Results suggest that the inclusion of an explicit not sure response option is a simple procedure that can increase the quality of eyewitness lineup decisions.

Identifier

FI13042306

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