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Eyewitness identifications of multiple culprits: Disconfirming feedback following one lineup decision impairs identification of another culprit

Palmer, MA ORCID: 0000-0002-3467-3364, Brewer, N, Weber, N and Sauer, JD ORCID: 0000-0002-0872-3647 2020 , 'Eyewitness identifications of multiple culprits: Disconfirming feedback following one lineup decision impairs identification of another culprit' , Psychology, Public Policy, and Law , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.1037/law0000291.

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Abstract

Eyewitnesses to multiple-culprit crimes are often asked to try to identify the culprits from differentlineups during a police investigation. In 2 experiments (N = 557), we show that disconfirming feedbackafter an identification attempt for 1 culprit can impair identification performance on a subsequent lineupfor a different culprit. In each experiment, witnesses viewed a simulated, 2-culprit crime, followed by 2police lineups: A culprit-absent lineup for 1 culprit and either a culprit-present or culprit-absent lineupfor the second culprit. Following the first lineup, witnesses received disconfirming feedback or nofeedback. For witnesses who correctly rejected the first lineup, disconfirming feedback impairedidentification performance on the subsequent lineup. For witnesses who incorrectly chose someone fromthe first lineup, disconfirming feedback impaired subsequent performance when the feedback unambiguously implied poor ability to identify the culprit in the first identification test (Experiment 2) but notwhen it could have been interpreted as implying poor criterion setting (Experiment 1). Across bothexperiments, disconfirming feedback also reduced the difference in confidence between correct andincorrect identifications. These results add to evidence that postidentification feedback can affectsubsequent identification performance by influencing witnesses’ beliefs about their ability to identify aculprit. Current policy recommendations state that postidentification feedback should be withheld fromwitnesses until confidence has been documented. These should be updated to recommend withholdingfeedback for longer if the witness may be asked to view additional lineups, and to ensure that lineupadministrators are blind to the results of any previous lineups.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Palmer, MA and Brewer, N and Weber, N and Sauer, JD
Keywords: eyewitness identification, multiple culprits, multiple lineups, postidentification feedback, compound signal detection
Journal or Publication Title: Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
Publisher: Amer Psychological Assoc
ISSN: 1076-8971
DOI / ID Number: 10.1037/law0000291
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2020 American Psychological Association

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