Non-biased lineup instructions do matter – a problem for older witnesses

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From the limited literature on older witnesses' identification performance it is known that they are less accurate on lineups compared to younger witnesses. What is less certain is why they show this age deficit and what can be done to aid their performance. Witnesses forgot being given non-biased lineup instructions informing witnesses that the perpetrator may or may not be present. More older witnesses than younger witnesses forgot and witnesses who failed to report remembering these instructions were significantly less accurate on the lineups. In addition, the current study investigated the use of sequential lineup presentation and stringent decision criteria to aid the performance of older witnesses. Sequential presentation was beneficial to both younger and older adults when the lineup was target absent (TA) but was detrimental when the lineup was target present (TP). Stringent decision criteria had no significant beneficial effect. Future directions for aiding older witnesses' performance are discussed.

Keywords: Older witnesses; identification; lineup instructions

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Kingston University, UK 2: University of Leicester, UK 3: University of Portsmouth, UK

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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