Witnessing-condition Heterogeneity and Witnesses’ Versus Investigators’ Confidence in the Accuracy of Witnesses’ Identification Decisions
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Undergraduate participants were tested in 144 pairs, with one member of each pair randomly assigned to a “witness” role and the other to an “:investigator” role. Each witness viewed a target person on video under good or poor witnessing conditions and was then interviewed by an investigator, who administered a photo lineup and rated his or her confidence in the witness. Witnesses also (separately) rated their own confidence. Investigators discriminated between accurate and inaccurate witnesses, but did so less well than witnesses' own confidence ratings and were biased toward accepting witnesses' decisions. Moreover, investigators' confidence made no unique contribution to the prediction of witnesses' accuracy. Witnesses' confidence and accuracy were affected in the same direction by witnessing conditions, and there was a substantial confidence–accuracy correlation when data were collapsed across witnessing conditions. Confidence can be strongly indicative of accuracy when witnessing conditions vary widely, and witnesses' confidence may be a better indicator than investigators'
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D. Stephen Lindsay, Elizabeth S. Nilsen, J. Don Read (2000). Witnessing-condition Heterogeneity and Witnesses’ Versus Investigators’ Confidence in the Accuracy of Witnesses’ Identification Decisions. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17689