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Do Masked-Face Lineups Facilitate Eyewitness Identification Of A Masked Individual?, Krista D. Manley, Jason C.K. Chan, Gary L. Wells Dec 2018

Do Masked-Face Lineups Facilitate Eyewitness Identification Of A Masked Individual?, Krista D. Manley, Jason C.K. Chan, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Perpetrators often wear disguises like ski masks to hinder subsequent identification by witnesses or law enforcement officials. In criminal cases involving a masked perpetrator, the decision of whether and how to administer a lineup often rests on the investigating officer. To date, no evidence-based recommendations are available for eyewitness identifications of a masked perpetrator. In 4 experiments, we examined lineup identification performance depending on variations in both encoding (studying a full face vs. a partial/masked face) and retrieval conditions (identifying a target from a full-face lineup vs. a partial/masked-face lineup). In addition, we manipulated whether the target was ...


Eyewitness Identification, Gary L. Wells Jan 2018

Eyewitness Identification, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Mistaken eyewitness-identification testimony is at the heart of a large share of the convictions of people whose innocence was later proven using forensic DNA testing. A considerable amount is now known about how to lower the rate of mistaken identifications through the use of better procedures for conducting identification. Several procedural reforms are described, such as double-blind lineups and pristine assessments of eyewitness-identification confidence. Although numerous jurisdictions have made improvements to their identification procedures in recent years, a large share of jurisdictions have still not made significant reforms. Although some courts have been making better use of the scientific findings ...


Eyewitness Identification Performance On Showups Improves With An Additional-Opportunities Instruction: Evidence For Present–Absent Criteria Discrepancy, Andrew M. Smith, Gary L. Wells, R. C. L. Lindsay, Tiffany Myerson Dec 2017

Eyewitness Identification Performance On Showups Improves With An Additional-Opportunities Instruction: Evidence For Present–Absent Criteria Discrepancy, Andrew M. Smith, Gary L. Wells, R. C. L. Lindsay, Tiffany Myerson

Psychology Publications

We tested the proposition that when eyewitnesses find it difficult to recognize a suspect (as in a culprit-absent showup), eyewitnesses accept a weaker match to memory for making an identification. We tie this proposition to the basic recognition memory literature, which shows people use lower decision criteria when recognition is made difficult so as to not miss their chance of getting a hit on the target. We randomly assigned participant–witnesses (N = 610) to a condition in which they were told that if they did not believe the suspect was the culprit, they would have additional opportunities to make an ...


Eyewitness Lineups: Identification From, Laura Smalarz, Gary L. Wells Jan 2015

Eyewitness Lineups: Identification From, Laura Smalarz, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

The police lineup is a common tool for eyewitness identifications of suspects in criminal cases. Forensic DNA testing of people convicted by eyewitness identification evidence and field studies of police lineups, however, have revealed that mistaken identification from lineups is not uncommon. Controlled laboratory experiments have isolated numerous variables that contribute to mistaken identifications from lineups, some of which are controllable by the criminal justice system (e.g., various biases in the lineup or its procedure) and some of which are not controllable by the criminal justice system (e.g., witnessing conditions, stress).


Retrieval Enhances Eyewitness Suggestibility To Misinformation In Free And Cued Recall, Miko S. Wilford, Jason C.K. Chan, Sam J. Tuhn Mar 2014

Retrieval Enhances Eyewitness Suggestibility To Misinformation In Free And Cued Recall, Miko S. Wilford, Jason C.K. Chan, Sam J. Tuhn

Psychology Publications

Immediately recalling a witnessed event can increase people’s susceptibility to later postevent misinformation. But this retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES) effect has been shown only when the initial recall test included specific questions that reappeared on the final test. Moreover, it is unclear whether this phenomenon is affected by the centrality of event details. These limitations make it difficult to generalize RES to criminal investigations, which often begin with free recall prior to more specific queries from legal officials and attorneys. In 3 experiments, we examined the influence of test formats (free recall vs. cued recall) and centrality of event details ...


Misleading Suggestions Can Alter Later Memory Reports Even Following A Cognitive Interview, Jessica A. Lapaglia, Miko M. Wilford, Jillian R. Rivard, Jason C.K. Chan, Ronald P. Fisher Feb 2014

Misleading Suggestions Can Alter Later Memory Reports Even Following A Cognitive Interview, Jessica A. Lapaglia, Miko M. Wilford, Jillian R. Rivard, Jason C.K. Chan, Ronald P. Fisher

Psychology Publications

Taking an immediate recall test prior to misinformation exposure can increase eyewitness suggestibility—a finding termed retrieval-enhanced suggestibility. Here, we examined whether retrieval-enhanced suggestibility would occur when participants were administered an immediate Cognitive Interview (CI). The CI is an investigative interviewing technique that consistently elicits more correct details in memory reports than standard interviews. In this study, participants watched a video of a crime and then completed a distractor task (control condition), a free recall test, or the CI. They then heard misinformation presented in a narrative. Participants produced more accurate memory details in the CI than in free recall ...


Testing Increases Suggestibility For Narrative-Based Misinformation But Reduces Suggestibility For Question-Based Misinformation, Jessica A. Lapaglia, Jason C.K. Chan Sep 2013

Testing Increases Suggestibility For Narrative-Based Misinformation But Reduces Suggestibility For Question-Based Misinformation, Jessica A. Lapaglia, Jason C.K. Chan

Psychology Publications

A number of recent studies have found that recalling details of an event following its occurrence can increase people's suggestibility to later presented misinformation. However, several other studies have reported the opposite result, whereby earlier retrieval can reduce subsequent eyewitness suggestibility. In the present study, we investigated whether differences in the way misinformation is presented can modulate the effects of testing on suggestibility. Participants watched a video of a robbery and some were questioned about the event immediately afterwards. Later, participants were exposed to misinformation in a narrative (Experiment 1) or in questions (Experiment 2). Consistent with previous studies ...


Retrieval Does Not Always Enhance Suggestibility: Testing Can Improve Witness Identification Performance, Jessica A. Lapaglia, Jason C.K. Chan Dec 2012

Retrieval Does Not Always Enhance Suggestibility: Testing Can Improve Witness Identification Performance, Jessica A. Lapaglia, Jason C.K. Chan

Psychology Publications

Verbally recalling the appearance of a perpetrator and the details of an event can sometimes hinder later eyewitness memory performance. In two experiments, we investigated the effects of verbally recalling a face on people's ability to resist subsequent misinformation about that face. Participants watched a video of a theft and then completed either a recall test or a distractor activity. After a delay, some participants heard a piece of misinformation. Memory was assessed with a recall test in Experiment 1 and with a target-present lineup in Experiment 2. In both experiments, initial testing reduced eyewitness suggestibility for the face ...


Retrieval Can Increase Or Decrease Suggestibility Depending On How Memory Is Tested: The Importance Of Source Complexity, Jason C.K. Chan, Miko M. Wilford, Katharine L. Hughes Jul 2012

Retrieval Can Increase Or Decrease Suggestibility Depending On How Memory Is Tested: The Importance Of Source Complexity, Jason C.K. Chan, Miko M. Wilford, Katharine L. Hughes

Psychology Publications

Taking an intervening test between learning episodes can enhance later source recollection. Paradoxically, testing can also increase people’s susceptibility to the misinformation effect – a finding termed retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES, Chan, Thomas, & Bulevich, 2009). We conducted three experiments to examine this apparent contradiction. Experiment 1 extended the RES effect to a new set of materials. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that testing can produce opposite effects on memory suggestibility depending on the complexity of the source test. Specifically, retrieval facilitated source discriminations when the test contained only items with unique source origins. But when the source test included some items ...


The Dark Side Of Testing Memory: Repeated Retrieval Can Enhance Eyewitness Suggestibility, Jason C.K. Chan, Jessica A. Lapaglia Dec 2011

The Dark Side Of Testing Memory: Repeated Retrieval Can Enhance Eyewitness Suggestibility, Jason C.K. Chan, Jessica A. Lapaglia

Psychology Publications

Eyewitnesses typically recount their experiences many times before trial. Such repeated retrieval can enhance memory retention of the witnessed event. However, recent studies (e.g., Chan, Thomas, & Bulevich, 2009) have found that initial retrieval can exacerbate eyewitness suggestibility to later misleading information—a finding termed retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES). Here we examined the influence of multiple retrieval attempts on eyewitness suggestibility to subsequent misinformation. In four experiments, we systematically varied the number of initial tests taken (between zero and six), the delay between initial testing and misinformation exposure (~30 min or 1 week), and whether initial testing was manipulated between- or ...


Paradoxical Effects Of Testing: Retrieval Enhances Both Accurate Recall And Suggestibility In Eyewitnesses, Jason C.K. Chan, Moses M. Langley Jan 2011

Paradoxical Effects Of Testing: Retrieval Enhances Both Accurate Recall And Suggestibility In Eyewitnesses, Jason C.K. Chan, Moses M. Langley

Psychology Publications

Although retrieval practice typically enhances memory retention, it can also impair subsequent eyewitness memory accuracy (Chan, Thomas, & Bulevich, 2009). Specifically, participants who had taken an initial test about a witnessed event were more likely than nontested participants to recall subsequently encountered misinformation—an effect we called retrieval-enhanced suggestibility (RES). Here, we sought to test the generality of RES and to further elucidate its underlying mechanisms. To that end, we tested a dual mechanism account, which suggests that RES occurs because initial testing (a) enhances learning of the later misinformation by reducing proactive interference and (b) causes the reactivated memory trace ...


Expert Testimony Regarding Eyewitness Identification, Brian L. Cutler, Gary L. Wells Jan 2009

Expert Testimony Regarding Eyewitness Identification, Brian L. Cutler, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Increasingly, psychologists are giving expert testimony in court on the accu­ racy of eyewitness identification (Kassin, Tubb, Hosch, & Memon, 2001). Eyewitness experts typically are cognitive or social psychologists who have published research articles on the topic of eyewitness memory. Expert testi­ mony in eyewitness identification is most commonly offered by the defense in criminal cases but is occasionally countered by opposing expert testimony offered by the prosecution. The increasing use of such expert testimony owes largely to the growing recognition that mistaken eyewitness identification is the single most common precursor to the conviction of innocent people (Doyle, 2005). In addition ...


Obtaining And Interpreting Eyewitness Identification Test Evidence: The Influence Of Police–Witness Interactions, Neil Brewer, Gary L. Wells Jan 2009

Obtaining And Interpreting Eyewitness Identification Test Evidence: The Influence Of Police–Witness Interactions, Neil Brewer, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Eyewitnesses to a crime are frequently asked to view an identification parade to see if they can identify the offender. Conduct of a line-up involves police or line-up administrators in a number of important decisions, such as who to put in the line-up, the method of presentation of the line-up, and what to say to witnesses before and after the line-up. The identification test can be conceptualized as a variant on an interview between the police and the witness, involving important interactions between police (or other line-up administrators) and witnesses. These interactions can profoundly influence witness decisions and impact on ...


Recalling A Witnessed Event Increases Eyewitness Suggestibility The Reversed Testing Effect, Jason C.K. Chan, Ayanna K. Thomas, John B. Bulevich Jan 2009

Recalling A Witnessed Event Increases Eyewitness Suggestibility The Reversed Testing Effect, Jason C.K. Chan, Ayanna K. Thomas, John B. Bulevich

Psychology Publications

People's later memory of an event can be altered by exposure to misinformation about that event. The typical misinformation paradigm, however, does not include a recall test prior to the introduction of misinformation, contrary to what real-life eyewitnesses encounter when they report to a 911 operator or crime-scene officer. Because retrieval is a powerful memory enhancer (the testing effect), recalling a witnessed event prior to receiving misinformation about it should reduce eyewitness suggestibility. We show, however, that immediate cued recall actually exacerbates the later misinformation effect for both younger and older adults. The reversed testing effect we observed was ...


Eyewitness Identification: Systemic Reforms, Gary L. Wells Jan 2006

Eyewitness Identification: Systemic Reforms, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

The vagaries of eyewitness identification are well known; the annals of criminal law are rife with instances of mistaken identification.


Eyewitness Identification Evidence: Science And Reform, Gary L. Wells Apr 2005

Eyewitness Identification Evidence: Science And Reform, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Kirk Bloodsworth was the first death row inmate to be exonerated by DNA evidence. Bloodsworth, a U.S. Marine veteran, had never been in trouble with the law, but was convicted in 1984 of the rape and murder of a 9-year-old girl and was sentenced to die in Maryland’s gas chamber. DNA tests exonerated Bloodsworth in 1993, but it was not until 2004 that the real killer was identified by DNA tests. The evidence driving Bloodsworth’s conviction was mistaken eyewitness identification.

There is little doubt today that mistaken eyewitness identification is the primary cause of the conviction of ...


Helping Experimental Psychology Affect Legal Policy, Gary L. Wells Jan 2005

Helping Experimental Psychology Affect Legal Policy, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Any scientific psychologist who has interacted extensively with police, lawyers, or trial judges has learned that scientific psychology and the legal system are very different beasts. The differences run much deeper than mere language and instead represent different types of thinking-a clash of cultures. This clash is particularly apparent when psychologists attempt to use research findings to affect legal policies and practices. In order for scientific psychologists to work effectively in applying psychological science to the legal system, they will need to develop a better understanding of the concept of policy and the contingencies that exist for policymakers.


Eyewitness Testimony, Gary L. Wells Jan 2002

Eyewitness Testimony, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Eyewitness testimony refers to verbal state­ ments from people regardi ng what they observed and can purportedly remember that would be relevant to issues of proof at a criminal or civil trial. Such state­ ments constitute a common form of evidence at trials. Eyewitness identification is a specific type of eyewit­ ness testimony in which an eyewitness claims to rec­ ognize a specific person as one who committed a par­ ticular action. In cases where the eyewitness knew the suspect before the crime, issues of the reliability of memory are usually not contested. In cases where the perpetrator of the ...


Eyewitness Identification: Psychological Aspects, Gary L. Wells Jan 2002

Eyewitness Identification: Psychological Aspects, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

Eyewitness identification refers to a type of evidence in which an eyewitness to a crime claims to recognize a suspect as the one who committed the crime. In cases where the eyewitness knew the suspect before the crime, issues of the reliability of memory are usually not contested. In cases where the perpetrator of the crime was a stranger to the eyewitness, however, the reliability of the identification is often at issue. Researchers in various areas of experimental psychology, especially cognitive and social psychology, have been conducting scientific studies of eyewitness identification evidence since the mid-1970s. Today, there exists a ...


Eyewitness Identification: 'I Noticed You Paused On Number Three.', Bill Nettles, Zoe Sanders, Gary L. Wells Nov 1996

Eyewitness Identification: 'I Noticed You Paused On Number Three.', Bill Nettles, Zoe Sanders, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

An eyewitness to a crime is the most damaging evidence the government can present in a criminal trial. The impact on the jury of a witness pointing to the defense table and saying “that is the man right there – I will never forget his face” is overwhelming. The prosecutor can often support the veracity of the identification by providing testimony that the witness previously identified the accused in some sort of a photo spread. If the witness is a victim, police officer or some other witness sympathetic to the government, the testimony usually goes something like this: “The officer showed ...


Recommendations For Properly Conducted Lineup Identification Tasks, Gary L. Wells, Eric P. Seelau, Sheila M. Rydell, C. A. Elizabeth Luus Jan 1994

Recommendations For Properly Conducted Lineup Identification Tasks, Gary L. Wells, Eric P. Seelau, Sheila M. Rydell, C. A. Elizabeth Luus

Psychology Publications

An eyewitness takes the stand and describes salient aspects of an event that he or she witnessed several months earlier. Then, in the hush of the courtroom, points to the defendant and says “That's him. That's the man I saw.” Simple, clean, and convincing. And therein rests the problem; what appears to be a simple identification is in fact the result of a series of complex and potentially unreliable social and cognitive events that began unfolding several months earlier when the event was originally witnessed.

This chapter, and much of the empirical research on which it is based ...


Eyewitness Identification Confidence, C. A. Elizabeth Luus, Gary L. Wells Jan 1994

Eyewitness Identification Confidence, C. A. Elizabeth Luus, Gary L. Wells

Psychology Publications

The production has been staged many times over the last decade. Although the plot and cast of characters have often varied, the story always involves a crime, a number of unsuspecting eyewitnesses, and an attempt to identify the criminal. Despite these variations, the ending usually remains the same: Some eyewitnesses feel certain they have identified the perpetrator; others lack that certainty. The accuracy of a witness's testimony cannot, however, necessarily be garnered from the certainty he or she expresses. Eyewitness confidence has been found to account for less than 10 percent of the variance in eyewitness identification accuracy (Wells ...