A Re-examination of the Effects of Biased Lineup Instructions in Eyewitness Identification

Author: Clark, Steven

Source: Law and Human Behavior, Volume 29, Number 4, August 2005 , pp. 395-424(30)

Publisher: Springer

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A meta-analytic review of research comparing biased and unbiased instructions in eyewitness identification experiments showed an asymmetry, specifically that biased instructions led to a large and consistent decrease in accuracy in target-absent lineups, but produced inconsistent results for target-present lineups, with an average effect size near zero (N. M. Steblay, 1997). The results for target-present lineups are surprising, and are inconsistent with statistical decision theories (i.e., D. M. Green & J. A. Swets, 1966). A re-examination of the relevant studies and the meta-analysis of those studies shows clear evidence that correct identification rates do increase with biased lineup instructions, and that biased witnesses make correct identifications at a rate considerably above chance. Implications for theory, as well as police procedure and policy, are discussed.

Keywords: decision-making; eyewitness identification; memory; police procedures

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10979-005-5690-7

Affiliations: Psychology Department, University of California, Riverside, California, 92521, Email: steven.clark@ucr.edu

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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