Can Lineup Administrators Blind to the Suspect's Identity Influence Witnesses’ Decisions?

Nicole A. McCallum, Neil Brewer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    It is advocated that police lineup administrators should be blind to the identity of suspects to prevent them from influencing witnesses’ decisions. Yet, it has been found that a lineup administrator who is blind to the suspect's identity may bias a witness's decision if he or she has previously administered the lineup to another witness to the same crime. In the present two experiments these findings are examined and expanded upon. Administrators blind to the suspect's identity presented a sequential lineup to a confederate and then a naïve witness under the manipulations of the confederate witness's decisiveness, confidence and decision speed. The findings of the previous study were not replicated; however, the second witness identifications matched the confederate's selection significantly more often when the confederate's decision was rapid rather than slow. Given the potentially dire consequences of such an effect, it is argued that different blind lineup administrators should be used for each witness to a crime.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-105
    Number of pages13
    JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018


    • confidence
    • decisiveness
    • double-blind lineup
    • eyewitness identification
    • eyewitness memory
    • latency
    • lineup administrator bias


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