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Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 199–216 | Cite as

Selecting Lineup Foils in Eyewitness Identification Experiments: Experimental Control and Real-World Simulation

  • Steven E. ClarkEmail author
  • Jennifer L. Tunnicliff
Article

Abstract

Experimental research on eyewitness identification follows a standard principle of experimental design. Perpetrator-present and perpetrator-absent lineups are constructed with the same foils, so that the two conditions are identical except for the presence or absence of the true perpetrator of the crime. However, this aspect of the design simulates conditions that do not correspond to those of real criminal investigations. Specifically, these conditions can create perp-absent lineups in which the foils are selected based on their similarity to an unknown person--the real perpetrator. Analysis of the similarity relations predicts that when foils for perp-absent lineups are selected based on their match to the perpetrator the false identification rate will be lower than if the foils are selected based on their match to the innocent suspect. This prediction was confirmed in an experiment that compared these two perp-absent lineup conditions. These results suggest that false identification rates in previous experiments would have been higher if the foils had been selected based on their match to the innocent suspect, rather than the absent perpetrator.

Keywords

Previous Experiment Social Psychology Experimental Control Experimental Research Identification Rate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© American Psychology-Law Society/Division 41 of the American Psychology Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiverside

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