Fair Lineups Improve Outside Observers’ Discriminability, Not Eyewitnesses’ Discriminability: Evidence for Differential Filler-Siphoning Using Empirical Data and the WITNESS Computer-Simulation Architecture

Andrew M. Smith, Laura Smalarz, Gary L. Wells, James Michael Lampinen, Simona Mackovichova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fair lineups (good fillers) better sort between innocent and guilty-suspect identifications than do biased lineups (poor fillers). Why are fair lineups better? Some authors have suggested that the fair-lineup advantage is the result of an improvement in eyewitness discriminability. Others argue that the fair lineups do not improve eyewitnesses’ discriminability at all but instead improve the discriminability of outside observers who are privy to which lineup members are known-fillers (the differential filler-siphoning mechanism). Experiment 1 used a forced-choice paradigm to show that fair lineups do not improve eyewitness discriminability. Experiment 2 used the WITNESS computer-simulation architecture to show that differential filler-siphoning and the fair-lineup advantage readily surfaces and nicely patterns experimental data based on minimal assumptions even though fair lineups did not improve eyewitness discriminability. Together, these two experiments support differential filler-siphoning and the idea that fair lineups enhance the outside observer’s discriminability, not the eyewitness’s discriminability

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Computational modeling
  • Eyewitness identification
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Lineups
  • Signal-detection theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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