Presenting a blank line-up—containing only fillers—to witnesses prior to showing a real line-up might be useful for screening out those who pick from the blank line-up as unreliable witnesses. We show that the effectiveness of this procedure varies depending on instructions given to witnesses. Participants (N = 462) viewed a simulated crime and attempted to identify the perpetrator from a line-up approximately 1 week later. Rejecting a blank line-up was associated with greater identification accuracy and greater diagnosticity of suspect identifications, but only when witnesses were instructed prior to the blank line-up that they would view a series of line-ups; the procedure was ineffective for screening when witnesses were advised they would view two line-ups or received no instruction. These results highlight the importance of instructions used in the blank line-up procedure, and the need for better understanding of how to interpret choosing patterns in this paradigm.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Applied Cognitive Psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2020|
- blank line-up
- confirmation bias
- eyewitness identification
- line-up instructions