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Confidence, Latency, and Accuracy in Eyewitness Identification Made from Show-Ups: Evidence from the Lab, the Field, and Current Law Enforcement Practices

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $662,407)

The purpose of this research is to conduct both a lab and field study to examine the relationships between 1) eyewitness confidence and accuracy, and 2) response latency (i.e., the time it takes a witness to identify a suspect) and accuracy in show-up identifications (i.e., eyewitness identification procedures that take place shortly after a crime), as well as to 3) examine current practices of law enforcement agencies in eyewitness procedures, especially those related to show-ups. The laboratory-based show-up study will address two research questions: 1) does the information provided by eyewitness confidence in an identification from a show-up procedure increase the probative value of eyewitness evidence? and 2) does the time that it takes to make an identification from a show-up procedure increase the probative value of eyewitness evidence? The research team will test the hypothesis using calibration and response-time accuracy characteristic analyses that both confidence and response time will provide information about the accuracy of the identification.

In addition to a lab study focused on the confidence-accuracy question in live show-ups, an even more practical cornerstone of this proposal is a field test of eyewitness identifications made in show-ups in the Newark (NJ) Police Department. Logistic and multinomial regression models will be applied to determine what factors contribute to the decision to conduct show-ups by the police. Confidence-accuracy calibration (CAC) and response time accuracy calibration (RAC) curves will be used how suspect identifications by witnesses are made. Comparisons of the lab and the field study sets of data will be made to examine potential differences in these relationships as a function of the lab and field study, to help identify ways to improve the reliability of show-ups in the field. The research team will also conduct a survey of law enforcement eyewitness identification practices to determine if the field has incorporated research findings regarding photo arrays and show-ups.

"Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law," and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 12, 2019