Identification Performance from Multiple Lineups: Should Eyewitnesses Who Pick Fillers Be Burned?

Laura Smalarz, Nate Kornell, Kalif E. Vaughn, Matthew A. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Over the course of a criminal investigation, eyewitnesses are sometimes shown multiple lineups in an attempt to identify the culprit, yet little research has examined eyewitness identification performance from multiple lineups. In two experiments, we examined eyewitness identification accuracy among witnesses who made an inaccurate identification from an initial lineup, correctly rejected an initial lineup, or saw no initial lineup. Consistent with the legal practice of “burning” eyewitnesses who pick fillers, witnesses who made an inaccurate identification from an initial lineup provided subsequent identification evidence that had little diagnostic value and reflected poor memory performance. Critically, these eyewitnesses’ initial-identification confidence did not predict their subsequent identification accuracy, thus precluding the identification of witnesses who could provide diagnostic evidence in a subsequent lineup. Eyewitnesses who correctly rejected the initial lineup performed similarly to eyewitnesses who saw only one lineup, and initial-rejection confidence was associated with subsequent identification accuracy under some conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-232
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Diagnosticity
  • Discriminability
  • Eyewitness confidence
  • Eyewitness identification
  • Eyewitness memory
  • Multiple lineups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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