How should witnesses regulate the accuracy of their identification decisions: One step forward, two steps back?

Tim Perfect, Nathan Weber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Explorations of memory accuracy control normally contrast forced-report with free-report performance across a set of items and show a trade-off between memory quantity and accuracy. However, this memory control framework has not been tested with lineup identifications that may involve rejection of all alternatives. A large-scale (N = 439) lineup study explored regulation of identification decisions either with an initial forced-choice decision followed by free-report decision or with the reverse. Overall, initial free-report decisions provided stronger evidence of suspect guilt than forced-choice decisions, with little cost to memory quantity. The 2 response orders produced different patterns of response associated with control of accuracy. A model based on evaluation of the strength of the best candidate answer was able to provide only a partial fit to the data, suggesting that witnesses use more than simple memory strength of a candidate answer when controlling the accuracy of their responses in free report.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1810-1818
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
    Volume38
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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