Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit Invited Speaker Series 2018/19
To inform a criminal investigation, police may ask an eyewitness to that crime to try to identify the perpetrator from a lineup. Eyewitnesses, however, have a bad reputation for being unreliable. That reputation is due to, in part, the fact that eyewitness researchers once viewed the relationship between the accuracy of an eyewitness’s initial identification and the confidence expressed in that identification as weak. Lab-based and field studies alike show that identifications made with high confidence are highly accurate whereas identifications made with low confidence are much less so. Confidence expressed during the initial procedure is therefore diagnostic of accuracy. In fact, it is by far the best predictor of accuracy. And when taken into account, the data challenge the longstanding notion that eyewitnesses are unreliable. The data also provide a way for the criminal justice system to improve the probative value of eyewitness evidence.
Laura Mickes is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests mainly involve the theoretical understanding of memory and decision-making and applied aspects of memory and decision-making (e.g., investigating and improving eyewitness identifications). More details can be found at her lab website http://www.mickeslab.com.
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