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Abstract

The criminal justice system should consider the confidence an eyewitness expresses when making an identification at the time the initial lineup procedure is conducted. High confidence expressed at this time typically indicates high accuracy in the identification. Because the suspect identification – not filler identifications or no identifications – matters most in the court of law, confidence-accuracy characteristic (CAC) analysis provides information most relevant to stakeholders. However, just as high confidence identifications indicate high accuracy, fast identifications may also indicate high accuracy. We tested whether a new technique that is similar to CAC analysis, called response time-accuracy characteristic (RAC) analysis, could inform stakeholders about the likely accuracy of an identification while usefully summarizing response time data. We argue this is the case in the lab and in the real world. Furthermore, CAC and RAC results are not completely redundant so both, considered together, are useful to the criminal justice system.
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... for the judge and jurors in the courtroom, information that indicates how accurate a witness's response is likely to be is of primary importance (Mickes, 2015(Mickes, , 2016. The confidence of young adult witnesses when they make an initial identification has been shown to be informative about the accuracy of their choice (Brewer & Wells, 2006;Grabman et al., 2019;Juslin et al., 1996;Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019a, 2019bSemmler et al., 2018;Wilson et al., 2018). This has also been reported with older adults when identification is made after a short delay, even when their overall discriminability is lower than younger adults (Colloff et al., 2017). ...
... It has also been shown that, for young adult witnesses, the speed with which initial lineup identification decisions are made is informative about the accuracy of their responses with faster responses being more accurate (e.g. Dodson & Dobolyi, 2016;Dunning & Perretta, 2002;Sauerland & Sporer, 2009;Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019a, 2019bSmith et al., 2001;Sporer, 1992Sporer, , 1993Weber et al., 2004). Furthermore, response time and confidence together predicted suspect identification accuracy better than each alone (Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019a, 2019b. ...
... Dodson & Dobolyi, 2016;Dunning & Perretta, 2002;Sauerland & Sporer, 2009;Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019a, 2019bSmith et al., 2001;Sporer, 1992Sporer, , 1993Weber et al., 2004). Furthermore, response time and confidence together predicted suspect identification accuracy better than each alone (Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019a, 2019b. For a particular level of confidence suspect identification accuracy was higher when the response was made quickly than when it was made slowly (Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019a, 2019b. ...
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The world population is getting older and, as a result, the number of older victims of crime is expected to increase. It is therefore essential to understand how ageing affects eyewitness identification, so procedures can be developed that enable victims of crime of all ages to provide evidence as accurately and reliably as possible. In criminal investigations, witnesses often provide a description of the perpetrator of the crime before later making an identification. While describing the perpetrator prior to making a lineup identification can have a detrimental effect on identification in younger adults, referred to as verbal overshadowing, it is unclear whether older adults are affected in the same way. Our study compared lineup identification of a group of young adults and a group of older adults using the procedure that has consistently revealed verbal overshadowing in young adults. Participants watched a video of a mock crime. Following a 20-min filled delay, they either described the perpetrator or completed a control task. Immediately afterwards, they identified the perpetrator from a lineup, or indicated that the perpetrator was not present, and rated their confidence. We found that describing the perpetrator decreased subsequent correct identification of the perpetrator in both young and older adults. This effect of verbal overshadowing was not explained by a change in discrimination but was consistent with participants adopting a more conservative criterion. Confidence and response time were both found to predict identification accuracy for young and older groups, particularly in the control condition.
... That is, decisions made quickly should be accurate, whereas decisions made slowly should be less accurate. Empirically, these predictions have often been confirmed in list-memory studies conducted in the basic-science laboratory (e.g., Ratcliff & Murdock, 1976), in lineup studies conducted in the appliedscience laboratory , and in lineup studies conducted in the real world (Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019). For example, in a study involving actual eyewitnesses to a crime, Seale-Carlisle et al. (2019) reported that lineup decisions made rapidly (e.g., in 5 or 10 s) and with high confidence were estimated to be highly reliable, whereas decisions made slowly (e.g., 30 s or more) were much less reliable. ...
... Empirically, these predictions have often been confirmed in list-memory studies conducted in the basic-science laboratory (e.g., Ratcliff & Murdock, 1976), in lineup studies conducted in the appliedscience laboratory , and in lineup studies conducted in the real world (Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019). For example, in a study involving actual eyewitnesses to a crime, Seale-Carlisle et al. (2019) reported that lineup decisions made rapidly (e.g., in 5 or 10 s) and with high confidence were estimated to be highly reliable, whereas decisions made slowly (e.g., 30 s or more) were much less reliable. This was true even in the rare case of a slow decision made with high confidence. ...
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Eyewitness misidentifications are almost always made with high confidence in the courtroom. The courtroom is where eyewitnesses make their last identification of defendants suspected of (and charged with) committing a crime. But what did those same eyewitnesses do on the first identification test, conducted early in a police investigation? Despite testifying with high confidence in court, many eyewitnesses also testified that they had initially identified the suspect with low confidence or failed to identify the suspect at all. Presenting a lineup leaves the eyewitness with a memory trace of the faces in the lineup, including that of the suspect. As a result, the memory signal generated by the face of that suspect will be stronger on a later test involving the same witness, even if the suspect is innocent. In that sense, testing memory contaminates memory. These considerations underscore the importance of a newly proposed recommendation for conducting eyewitness identifications: Avoid repeated identification procedures with the same witness and suspect. This recommendation applies not only to additional tests conducted by police investigators but also to the final test conducted in the courtroom, in front of the judge and jury.
... In the adult eyewitness literature, IDs are more likely to be accurate when cognitive processes are automatic (e. g., the face "stood out") and fast, whereas IDs are more likely to be inaccurate when cognitive processes are considered (e.g., process of elimination decisions) and slow (Dunning & Stern, 1994). A number of experiments have found that faster decisions in adults yield more accurate suspect IDs (e.g., Sauer et al., 2008;Sauerland & Sporer, 2009;Seale-Carlisle, Colloff, et al., 2019), a finding that has been replicated with children from age 4 (Bruer & Pozzulo, 2014) and from age 8 (Brewer & Day, 2005). ...
... Conversely, those with weak memories might be exploring whether any particular angle or further examination of the faces might provide a stronger match to memory, which is a relatively slow process. This explanation is concordant with the existing literature that indicates that correct identifications, made by people with strong memories, are likely to be made quickly (e.g., Dobolyi & Dodson, 2018;Sauerland & Sporer, 2009;Seale-Carlisle, Colloff, et al., 2019). This post hoc explanation of our results should be tested in future research. ...
Article
Children are frequently witnesses of crime. In the witness literature and legal systems, children are often deemed to have unreliable memories. Yet, in the basic developmental literature, young children can monitor their memory. To address these contradictory conclusions, we reanalyzed the confidence-accuracy relationship in basic and applied research. Confidence provided considerable information about memory accuracy, from at least age 8, but possibly younger. We also conducted an experiment where children in young (4-6 years), middle (7-9 years), and late (10-17 years) childhood (N = 2,205) watched a person in a video and then identified that person from a police lineup. Children provided a confidence rating (an explicit judgment) and used an interactive lineup-in which the lineup faces can be rotated-and we analyzed children's viewing behavior (an implicit measure of metacognition). A strong confidence-accuracy relationship was observed from age 10 and an emerging relationship from age 7. A constant likelihood ratio signal-detection model can be used to understand these findings. Moreover, in all ages, interactive viewing behavior differed in children who made correct versus incorrect suspect identifications. Our research reconciles the apparent divide between applied and basic research findings and suggests that the fundamental architecture of metacognition that has previously been evidenced in basic list-learning paradigms also underlies performance on complex applied tasks. Contrary to what is believed by legal practitioners, but similar to what has been found in the basic literature, identifications made by children can be reliable when appropriate metacognitive measures are used to estimate accuracy. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... To be able to further estimate not only the speed and the accuracy of a decision, it also appears worthwhile to assess the confidence of the judgment of a decision (Ratcliff et al., 2016;Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019). Only a few studies in the team sports domain exist that have put the focus on the athletes' confidence in decisions. ...
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Expert athletes are determined to make faster and better decisions, as revealed in several simple heuristic studies using verbal reports or micro-movement responses. However, heuristic decision-making experiments that require motor responses, also being considered as the embodied-choice experiments, are still underrepresented. Furthermore, it is less understood how decision time and confidence depend on the type of embodied choices players make. To scrutinize the decision-making processes (i.e., decision time, decision confidence), this study investigated the embodied choices of male athletes with different expertise in a close-to-real-life environment; 22 elite ( M age = 17.59 yrs., SD = 3.67), and 22 amateur ( M age = 20.71 yrs., SD = 8.54) team handball players performed a sport-specific embodied-choice test. Attack sequences ( n = 32) were shown to the players, who had to choose between four provided options by giving a respective sport-specific motor response. We analyzed the frequencies of specific choices and the best choice , as well as the respective decision time and decision confidence. Elite and amateur players differed in the frequencies of specific choices (i.e., forward/tackling; passive blocking), and elite players made the best choice more often. Slower decision times of elite players were revealed in specific choices and in best choices , the confidence of decisions was rated equally high by both player groups. Indications are provided that elite players make better choices rather slower, instead of faster. We suppose this is due to specific sensorimotor interactions and speed-accuracy-tradeoffs in favor of accuracy in elite players. Our findings extend expert decision-making research by using an embodied-choice paradigm, highlighting considerations of decision time and confidence in future experiments.
... Further options for defense actions, e.g., provoked by additional varying attack sequences, were not regarded. Also, the respective time of responses (decision time) was not recorded, even though decision time is thought to be an important metric of decision making (Vaeyens et al., 2007;Raab and Laborde, 2011;Ratcliff et al., 2016;Seale-Carlisle et al., 2019). ...
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Athletic features distinguishing experts from non-experts in team sports are relevant for performance analyses, talent identification and successful training. In this respect, perceptual-cognitive factors like decision making have been proposed to be important predictor of talent but, however, assessing decision making in team sports remains a challenging endeavor. In particular, it is now known that decisions expressed by verbal reports or micro-movements in the laboratory differ from those actually made in on-field situations in play. To address this point, our study compared elite and amateur players’ decision-making behavior in a near-game test environment including sport-specific sensorimotor responses. Team-handball players (N = 44) were asked to respond as quickly as possible to representative, temporally occluded attack sequences in a team-handball specific defense environment on a contact plate system. Specifically, participants had to choose and perform the most appropriate out of four prespecified, defense response actions. The frequency of responses and decision time were used as dependent variables representing decision-making behavior. We found that elite players responded significantly more often with offensive responses (p < 0.05, odds ratios: 2.76–3.00) in left-handed attack sequences. Decision time decreased with increasing visual information, but no expertise effect was found. We suppose that expertise-related knowledge and processing of kinematic information led to distinct decision-making behavior between elite and amateur players, evoked in a domain-specific and near-game test setting. Results also indicate that the quality of a decision might be of higher relevance than the required time to decide. Findings illustrate application opportunities in the context of performance analyses and talent identification processes.
... For example, it can be assumed that strong memory traces will give rise to highly confident, fast and automatic identifications. However, some evidence suggests that those postdictors provide partially independent information so that the combined use of confidence, decision time and decision process seem to provide better estimates of identification accuracy (Sauerland & Sporer, 2007Seale-Carlisle, Colloff, & Flowe, 2019). ...
Chapter
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Even though there are multiple factors that may impair eyewitness memory, triers of fact typically trust eyewitness accounts regardless of the witnessing and identification conditions. This highlights the need for an evaluation of factors that relate to the strength of eyewitness identification evidence. In psychological research, there has been an extensive effort to try and identify such markers that may be used to better distinguish accurate from inaccurate eyewitness identification decisions. In this chapter, I aim to summarize the main findings regarding such potential postdictors of eyewitness identification accuracy. Specifically, I will discuss the role of eyewitness confidence, decision time, decision processes and individual differences in distinguishing accurate from inaccurate identification decisions.
... The example datasets are also used in the online manual tutorials which expand on the descriptions given in this paper. The first dataset, test1, is of data collected on 6person simultaneous lineups and has only one condition (Seale-Carlisle et al. (2019a)). The other two datasets each have two conditions. ...
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pyWitness is a python toolkit for recognition memory experiments, with a focus on eyewitness identification (ID) data analysis and model fitting. The current practice is for researchers to use different statistical packages to analyze a single dataset. pyWitness streamlines the process of the data analysis. In addition to conducting key data analyses (e.g., receiver operating characteristic analysis, confidence accuracy characteristic analysis), statistical comparisons, signal-detection-based model fits, simulated data generation, and power analyses are also possible. In this paper, we describe the package implementation and provide detailed instructions and tutorials with datasets so that users can follow. There is also an online manual that is regularly updated. We developed pyWitness to be user-friendly, reduce human interaction with pre-processing and processing of data and model fits, and produce publication-ready plots. All pyWitness features align with open science practices, such that the algorithms, fits, and methods are reproducible and documented.
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Eyewitness identifications play a key role in the justice system, but eyewitnesses can make errors, often with profound consequences. We used findings from basic science and innovative technologies to develop and test whether a novel interactive lineup procedure, wherein witnesses can rotate and dynamically view the lineup faces from different angles, improves witness discrimination accuracy compared with a widely used procedure in laboratories and police forces around the world-the static frontal-pose photo lineup. No novel procedure has previously been shown to improve witness discrimination accuracy. In Experiment 1, participants (N = 220) identified culprits from sequentially presented interactive lineups or static frontal-pose photo lineups. In Experiment 2, participants (N = 8,507) identified culprits from interactive lineups that were either presented sequentially, simultaneously wherein the faces could be moved independently, or simultaneously wherein the faces moved jointly into the same angle. Sequential interactive lineups enhanced witness discrimination accuracy compared with static photo lineups, and simultaneous interactive lineups enhanced witness discrimination accuracy compared with sequential interactive lineups. These finding were true both when participants viewed suspects who were of the same or different ethnicity/race as themselves. Our findings exemplify how basic science can be used to address the important applied policy issue on how best to conduct a police lineup and reduce eyewitness errors. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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This paper uses machine-learning techniques to examine people’s use of verbal expressions of confidence. Across the field of academic psychology, it is often assumed that such statements reflect the same underlying information as numeric confidence ratings. We show that verbal confidence is not redundant with numeric confidence, but instead contributes unique diagnostic value in predicting the accuracy of a response. We use eyewitness confidence in a lineup identification as our model paradigm. There is potentially great applied value in developing a machine-learning algorithm that can predict eyewitness identification accuracy, such as by reducing false convictions. To this end, we applied a machine-learning methodology to investigate the natural language of accurate and inaccurate eyewitnesses. This method revealed that verbal confidence statements provide rich diagnostic information about the likely accuracy of eyewitness identifications. Moreover, verbal confidence statements provide unique diagnostic information that traditional indicators of identification accuracy such as numeric confidence ratings and response times do not provide. However, the diagnostic value of an eyewitness confidence statement depends in part on the face recognition ability of the eyewitness: the natural language of strong face recognizers is more diagnostic than the natural language of weak face recognizers. These results are theoretically interesting, but from an applied perspective, this machine-learning methodology may prove useful to those in the criminal justice system that must evaluate eyewitnesses’ verbal confidence statements.
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Eyewitness identification is fallible, and suggestive post-event information is known to facilitate error; however, whether social media valence affects identification decisions is unknown. After viewing crime videos of various race perpetrators, participants saw post-event Twitter photos of the perpetrator or a foil that varied in valence. Participants attempted identification from a lineup including both individuals and rated the confidence and source (i.e., video, Twitter) of their selection. Results showed that Twitter photos of the perpetrator increased the likelihood of accurate identification and related confidence, whereas seeing the foil reduced the likelihood of a correct identification and related confidence. Remembering the perpetrator from the crime influenced correct identification, while remembering other incorrect sources (e.g., Twitter) only lead to misidentification. Twitter valence and perpetrator race did not impact outcomes. Results suggest that difficulty in identifying a perpetrator is underpinned by source monitoring confusion which is exacerbated by viewing social media that includes innocent suspects.
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Increasing research shows that high eyewitness confidence at the time of an initial identification is a strong predictor of accuracy (Wixted & Wells, 2017). However, as with all forms of criminal evidence, this relationship is imperfect. This study addresses whether there are variables that systematically influence the rate of high confidence misidentifications. Notably, this is the first study to document the influence of face recognition ability on the confidence-accuracy relationship. Participants viewed photos of individuals of their same race or a different race, and performed a lineup recognition test after either a 5-minute (n = 277) or 1-day (n = 292) delay. High confidence identification errors were more likely when a) individuals are worse face recognizers, b) decision-times are slow, and c) responses are justified with references to familiarity (e.g., “He looks familiar).
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How can lineups be designed to elicit the best achievable memory performance? One step toward that goal is to compare lineup procedures. In a recent comparison of US and UK lineup procedures, discriminability and reliability was better when memory was tested using the US procedure. However, because there are so many differences between the procedures, it is unclear what explains this superior performance. The main goal of the current research is therefore to systematically isolate the differences between the US and UK lineups to determine their effects on discriminability and reliability. In five experiments, we compared (1) presentation format: simultaneous vs. sequential; (2) stimulus format: photos vs. videos; (3) number of views: 1-lap vs. 2-lap vs. choice in both video and photo lineups; and (4) lineup size: 6- versus 9-lineup members. Most of the comparisons did not show appreciable differences, but one comparison did: simultaneous presentation yielded better discriminability than sequential presentation. If the results replicate, then policymakers should recommend using a simultaneous lineup procedure. Moreover, consistent with previous research, identifications made with high confidence were higher in reliability than identifications made with low confidence. Thus, official lineup protocols should require collecting confidence because of the diagnostic value added.
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Researchers use a wide range of confidence scales when measuring the relationship between confidence and accuracy in reports from memory, with the highest number usually representing the greatest confidence (e.g., 4-point, 20-point, and 100-point scales). The assumption seems to be that the range of the scale has little bearing on the confidence-accuracy relationship. In two old/new recognition experiments, we directly investigated this assumption using word lists (Experiment 1) and faces (Experiment 2) by employing 4-, 5-, 20-, and 100-point scales. Using confidence-accuracy characteristic (CAC) plots, we asked whether confidence ratings would yield similar CAC plots, indicating comparability in use of the scales. For the comparisons, we divided 100-point and 20-point scales into bins of either four or five and asked, for example, whether confidence ratings of 4, 16–20, and 76–100 would yield similar values. The results show that, for both types of material, the different scales yield similar CAC plots. Notably, when subjects express high confidence, regardless of which scale they use, they are likely to be very accurate (even though they studied 100 words and 50 faces in each list in 2 experiments). The scales seem convertible from one to the other, and choice of scale range probably does not affect research into the relationship between confidence and accuracy. High confidence indicates high accuracy in recognition in the present experiments.
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This article documents a contradiction between objective eyewitness accuracy and perceived eyewitness accuracy. Objectively, eyewitness identification accuracy (and the confidence-accuracy relationship) is comparably strong when a lineup identification is accompanied by a justification that refers to either an observable feature about the suspect (“I remember his eyes”), an unobservable feature (“He looks like a friend of mine”) or just a statement of recognition (“I recognize him”). There is, however, a weaker relationship between confidence and accuracy and an increase in high confidence errors for identifications that are accompanied by references to familiarity than by references to any other type of justification. With respect to perceived accuracy, we document a robust cognitive bias—the featural justification effect—that causes eyewitnesses to be regarded by others as less accurate and less confident when they justify their identification by referring to an observable feature as compared to when they give any other kind of justification, except for a reference to familiarity.
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Participants encountered same-race and cross-race faces at encoding, completed a series of line-up identification tests and provided confidence ratings by using one of nine different confidence scales. Confidence was less well calibrated with identification accuracy when participants selected a cross-race than a same-race face because of overconfidence. By contrast, there was no cross-race effect on confidence–accuracy calibration when participants responded ‘not present’. Whereas confidence was a very strong predictor of accuracy for fast identifications of a line-up face, this was much less the case for slower decisions. Highly confident identifications showed a dramatic drop in accuracy from faster decisions to slower decisions, whereas there was little change in accuracy between faster and slower decisions for moderately confident or weakly confident identifications. Finally, we observed little influence of the format of the nine different confidence scales: numerical and verbal scales produced comparable calibration scores, as did scales with few or many points. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.