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Selecting fillers on emotional appearance improves lineup identification accuracy

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posted on 2015-01-15, 13:08 authored by Heather D. Flowe, Thimna Klatt, Melissa T. Colloff
Mock witnesses sometimes report using criminal stereotypes to identify a face from a lineup, a tendency known as criminal face bias. Faces are perceived as criminal-looking if they appear angry. We tested whether matching the emotional appearance of the fillers to an angry suspect can reduce criminal face bias. In Study 1, mock witnesses (n = 226) viewed lineups in which the suspect had an angry, happy, or neutral expression, and we varied whether the fillers matched the expression. An additional group of participants (n = 59) rated the faces on criminal and emotional appearance. As predicted, mock witnesses tended to identify suspects who appeared angrier and more criminal-looking than the fillers. This tendency was reduced when the lineup fillers matched the emotional appearance of the suspect. Study 2 extended the results, testing whether the emotional appearance of the suspect and fillers affects recognition memory. Participants (n = 1,983) studied faces and took a lineup test in which the emotional appearance of the target and fillers was varied between subjects. Discrimination accuracy was enhanced when the fillers matched an angry target's emotional appearance. We conclude that lineup member emotional appearance plays a critical role in the psychology of lineup identification. The fillers should match an angry suspect's emotional appearance to improve lineup identification accuracy.

Funding

Nuffield Foundation

History

Citation

Law and Human Behavior, Vol 38(6), Dec 2014, 509-519.

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/School of Psychology

Version

  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

Law and Human Behavior

Publisher

Springer Verlag for American Psychological Association

issn

0147-7307

eissn

1573-661X

Copyright date

2014

Available date

2015-01-15

Publisher version

http://psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=search.displayrecord&uid=2014-33750-001

Language

en

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