Eyewitness Identification Decisions and Metacognition: Familiarity and Recollection in Simultaneous Lineups

Author: Nicola Guerin

Guerin, Nicola, 2017 Eyewitness Identification Decisions and Metacognition: Familiarity and Recollection in Simultaneous Lineups, Flinders University, School of Psychology

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An original best-match-first dual-process framework was proposed to explain eyewitness-identification errors in simultaneous lineup tasks. Eyewitnesses tend to first find the lineup-member who best matches memory for the offender, before deciding whether or not the best-match is the offender. This strategy encourages eyewitnesses to rely on the global familiarity of lineup-members, and neglect more detailed recollection of the offender. Eyewitnesses are then susceptible to falsely identifying an innocent suspect, when the offender is not in the lineup. Patterns of identification responses from laboratory lineup experiments supported the predictions of the framework. This evidence informed the development of a novel presence-recollection lineup procedure, designed to improve eyewitnesses’ use of recollection. In the novel lineup procedure, participants were informed about the qualities of accurate remembering, and made lineup decisions in two steps, to disrupt best-match-first decision-making. Participants following the novel presence-recollection procedure made more accurate identification decisions than with a traditional lineup.

Keywords: eyewitness identification, recognition memory, familiarity, recollection, decision-making, eyewitness memory

Subject: Psychology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2017
School: School of Psychology
Supervisor: Nathan Weber