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Exploring the Sequential Lineup Advantage Using WITNESS

  • Original Article
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Law and Human Behavior

Abstract

Advocates claim that the sequential lineup is an improvement over simultaneous lineup procedures, but no formal (quantitatively specified) explanation exists for why it is better. The computational model WITNESS (Clark, Appl Cogn Psychol 17:629–654, 2003) was used to develop theoretical explanations for the sequential lineup advantage. In its current form, WITNESS produced a sequential advantage only by pairing conservative sequential choosing with liberal simultaneous choosing. However, this combination failed to approximate four extant experiments that exhibited large sequential advantages. Two of these experiments became the focus of our efforts because the data were uncontaminated by likely suspect position effects. Decision-based and memory-based modifications to WITNESS approximated the data and produced a sequential advantage. The next step is to evaluate the proposed explanations and modify public policy recommendations accordingly.

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Notes

  1. Experiment 2 in Carlson et al. (2008) also had intermediate and fair lineup conditions. However, because our focus is on the sequential advantage, and neither of those conditions exhibited a sequential advantage, we excluded them.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation grant SES-0719997. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of the NSF. Additional support came from an American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS) grant-in-aid awarded to the first author. The authors appreciate the comments provided by Steve Clark on several drafts of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Scott D. Gronlund.

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Goodsell, C.A., Gronlund, S.D. & Carlson, C.A. Exploring the Sequential Lineup Advantage Using WITNESS. Law Hum Behav 34, 445–459 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10979-009-9215-7

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