Rachel Searston

Rachel Searston
University of Adelaide · School of Psychology

About

34
Publications
12,484
Reads
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310
Citations
Additional affiliations
May 2018 - present
University of Adelaide
Position
  • Lecturer
January 2017 - May 2018
University of Melbourne
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2016 - January 2017
The University of Queensland
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (34)
Preprint
Full-text available
Across research areas, general issues of low statistical power, publication bias, undisclosed flexibility in data analysis, and researcher degrees of freedom, can be recipes for irreproducibility. To address the problem, a reform movement known as the ‘credibility revolution’ emphasises the need for greater transparency in how research is conducted...
Preprint
Full-text available
Legal commentators widely agree that forensic examiners should articulate the reasons for their opinions. However, findings from cognitive science strongly suggest that people have little insight into the information they rely on to make decisions. And as individuals gain expertise, they rely more on cognitive shortcuts that are not directly access...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence accumulation models have been used to describe the cognitive processes underlying performance in tasks involving 2-choice decisions about unidimensional stimuli, such as motion or orientation. Given the multidimensionality of natural stimuli, however, we might expect qualitatively different patterns of evidence accumulation in more applied...
Article
Full-text available
When a fingerprint is located at a crime scene, a human examiner is counted upon to manually compare this print to those stored in a database. Several experiments have now shown that these professional analysts are highly accurate, but not infallible, much like other fields that involve high-stakes decision-making. One method to offset mistakes in...
Article
The role of news media in the perpetuation of misinformation has faced increasing scrutiny. Concerns have been raised about news media’s negative influence on mental health, increasing news avoidance, and decreasing trust in news. Constructive journalism is proposed to increase engagement with and trust in news media, reduce the mental health impac...
Article
Throughout COVID-19, the proliferation of misinformation and the impact of negative news on mental health highlights a tension between news media as a source of essential public health information and news as a source of distress. A suggested approach to reporting which remains informative while tempering audience distress is constructive journalis...
Article
Full-text available
The proliferation of misinformation in contemporary information environments contributes to increasing polarization and decreasing trust in institutions and experts, both of which encourage further proliferation of misinformation. Increasing attention has been brought to the role of news media in the spread and uptake of misinformation, and to the...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we provide a toolbox of recommendations and resources for those aspiring to promote the uptake of open scientific practices. Open Science encompasses a range of behaviours that aim to improve the transparency of scientific research. This paper is divided into seven sections, each devoted to different groups or institutions in the r...
Article
Full-text available
Experts outperform novices on many cognitive and perceptual tasks. Extensive training has tuned experts to the most relevant information in their specific domain, allowing them to make decisions quickly and accurately. We compared a group of fingerprint examiners to a group of novices on their ability to search for information in fingerprints acros...
Article
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns have been raised about an ‘infodemic’, with information and misinformation being spread across multiple channels and mediums. Information consumption has also been associated with increased anxiety throughout the pandemic. Thus, the present study investigates the mediating role of state anxiety on the rela...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this article, we provide a toolbox of resources and nudges for those who are interested in advancing open scientific practice. Open Science encompasses a range of behaviours that aim to include the transparency of scientific research and how widely it is communicated. The paper is divided into seven sections, each dealing with a different stakeh...
Preprint
Full-text available
People who have had extensive training in a domain perform far better on many perceptual tasks than those without any training. Perceptual experts tend to constrain their attention to features that will enable them to make decisions quickly and accurately, and time and again their expertise is shown to be domain-specific. We compared a group of fin...
Article
Perceptual experts have learned to rapidly and accurately perceive the structural regularities that define categories and identities within a domain. They extract important features and their relations more efficiently than novices. We used fingerprint examination to investigate expert‐novice differences in feature choice. On each fingerprint withi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Perceptual experts have learned to rapidly and accurately perceive the structural regularities that define categories and identities within a domain. They extract important features and their relations more efficiently than novices. We used fingerprint examination to investigate expert-novice differences in feature choice. On each fingerprint withi...
Preprint
When a fingerprint is located at a crime scene, a human examiner is counted upon to manually compare this print to those stored in a database. Several experiments have now shown that these professional analysts are highly accurate, but not infallible, much like other fields that involve high-stakes decision making. One method to offset mistakes in...
Article
Humans can see through the complexity of scenes, faces, and objects by quickly extracting their redundant low-spatial and low-dimensional global properties, or their style. It remains unclear, however, whether semantic coding is necessary, or whether visual stylistic information is sufficient, for people to recognize and discriminate complex images...
Preprint
Full-text available
Evidence-based educational practice and policy relies on educational research to be accessible and reliable. For educators, creating the next generation of critical thinkers, collaborators, and effective communicators, is a complex educational problem, requiring a delicate marriage of methods and approaches for understanding the mind, behaviour, an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Evidence accumulation models have been used to describe the cognitive processes underlying performance across a number of domains. Previous applications of these models have typically involved decisions about basic perceptual stimuli (e.g., motion discrimination). Applied perceptual domains, such as fingerprint discrimination, face recognition or m...
Preprint
Humans can efficiently see through the complexity of scenes, faces, and objects in order to extract the underlying image structure, the style of an image. It remains unclear, however, whether semantic coding is necessary, and whether global information is sufficient, for people to recognize and discriminate complex visual categories. In two experim...
Preprint
Full-text available
Humans can efficiently see through the complexity of scenes, faces, and objects in order to extract the underlying image structure, the style of an image. It remains unclear, however, whether semantic coding is necessary, and whether global information is sufficient, for people to recognize and discriminate complex visual categories. In two experim...
Article
Full-text available
Despite playing a critical role in our criminal justice system, very little is known about the expertise of forensic scientists. Here, we review three disciplines where research has begun to investigate such expertise: handwriting analysis, fingerprint examination, and facial image comparison. We assess expertise against the scientific standard,but...
Article
Scarf et al. (Proc Natl Acad Sci 113(40):11272–11276, 2016) demonstrated that pigeons, as with baboons (Grainger et al. in Science 336(6078):245–248, 2012; Ziegler in Psychol Sci. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612474322, 2013), can be trained to display several behavioural hallmarks of human orthographic processing. But, Vokey and Jamieson (Psycho...
Article
Full-text available
Can early individual differences in performance predict later expertise in the applied domain of fingerprint identification? We tracked 24 new trainees over the course of a year as they accumulated experience working in a fingerprint unit. We tested their performance every three months on four measures of fingerprint expertise. Trainees significant...
Article
Full-text available
Perceptual expertise is notoriously specific and bound by familiarity; generalizing to novel or unfamiliar images, objects, identities, and categories often comes at some cost to performance. In forensic and security settings, however, examiners are faced with the task of discriminating unfamiliar images of unfamiliar objects within their general d...
Data
Participants’ confidence ratings, hit and false alarm rates, response times and summary data for Experiment 1 (page 1) and Experiment 2 (page 2). (PDF)
Article
Human factors and their implications for forensic science have attracted increasing levels of interest across criminal justice communities in recent years. Initial interest centred on cognitive biases, but has since expanded such that knowledge from psychology and cognitive science is slowly infiltrating forensic practices more broadly. This articl...
Article
Are strategies for learning in education effective for learning in applied visual domains, such as fingerprint identification? We compare the effect of practice with immediate corrective feedback (feedback training), generating labels for features of matching and mismatching fingerprints (labels training), and contrasting matching and mismatching f...
Article
Full-text available
Experience identifying visual objects and categories improves generalization within the same class (e.g., discriminating bird species improves transfer to new bird species), but does such perceptual expertise transfer to coarser category judgments? We tested whether fingerprint experts, who spend their days comparing pairs of prints and judging whe...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides an explanation of the duties and responsibilities owed by forensic practitioners (and other expert witnesses) when preparing for and presenting evidence in criminal proceedings. It is written in the shadow of reports by the National Academy of Sciences (US), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (US), the Scottish...
Article
Full-text available
Previous demonstrations of context effects in the forensic comparison sciences have shown that the number of "match" responses a person makes can be swayed by case information. Less clear is whether these effects are a result of changes in accuracy (e.g., discrimination ability), a shift in response bias (e.g., tendency to say "match" or "no match"...
Article
Full-text available
Most forensic science evidence is produced in conditions that do not protect the analyst from contextual information about the case that could sway their decision-making. This article explores how these largely unrecognized threats raise real problems for the criminal justice system; from the collection and interpretation of traces to the presentat...
Article
Full-text available
This article is a resource for lawyers approaching the cross-examination of forensic scientists (and other expert witnesses). Through a series of examples, it provides information that will assist lawyers to explore the probative value of forensic science evidence, in particular forensic comparison evidence, on the voir dire and at trial. Questions...

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