Lineup Procedures in Eyewitness Identification

Scott D. Gronlund, Charles A. Goodsell and Shannon M. Andersen

in Memory and Law

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199920754
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199950133 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Series in Neuroscience, Law, and Philosophy

Lineup Procedures in Eyewitness Identification

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Faulty eyewitness identification is a leading reason that innocent people are convicted and incarcerated. Wells (1978) introduced a distinction between two sets of variables that affect the accuracy of identification decisions: estimator and system variables. Estimator variables are factors like the adverse effects on encoding of stress or the difficulty of cross-race identifications. Little can be done to circumvent these effects. However, system variables are under the control of the criminal justice system and research has been directed at developing procedures to enhance the accuracy of eyewitness identification. The chapter considers four categories of system variable research involving lineups: content, instructions, behavioral influence, and presentation method. The chapter reviews the evidence supporting each and update recommendations made by Wells et al. (1998). Particular attention is directed at sequential versus simultaneous lineup presentation methods because the ostensible advantage of sequential lineups has been the most influential system-variable reform.

Keywords: eyewitness identification; system and estimator variables; sequential and simultaneous lineups; lineup composition; administration; and instructions

Chapter.  11271 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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