Dance Like No One’s Watching: the Influence of Demand Characteristics When Examining Lineups via Computer or In-Person

Article

Abstract

Lineup administrators may inadvertently bias an eyewitness’ identification; as such, the blind-lineup administration is recommended to combat this bias. Three studies examined eyewitness identification accuracy when the lineup is presented on a computer versus in-person to determine whether computer-administrated lineups could replace in-person lineups to ensure blind administration. Study 1 (N = 378) varied whether the administration was on a computer versus in-person across the simultaneous, elimination, and wildcard procedures. Overall, participants were more accurate when presented with the online administration; moreover, participants were more accurate in target-absent lineups when presented with a simultaneous or elimination procedure compared to the wildcard procedure. Study 2 (N = 367) was similar to study 1 but used different stimuli and included the simultaneous, elimination, and elimination-plus procedures. Identification accuracy was comparable for online and in-person administration. Study 3 (N = 219) sought to examine why online administration was superior in study 1 by varying whether the researcher was present only during the identification task. When the researcher was present, participants were more likely to make a foil identification in the simultaneous procedure compared to the elimination procedure. The results of these three studies suggest that computer-administrated lineups may be a feasible solution to ensure blind administration.

Keywords

Eyewitness identification Blind administration Online administration Lineup procedure Administrator bias 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Pica
    • 1
  • Joanna Pozzulo
    • 2
  • Chelsea L. Sheahan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological Science and CounselingAustin Peay State UniversityClarksvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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