Distinguishing Accurate Eyewitness Identifications from Erroneous Ones: Post-dictive Indicators of Eyewitness Accuracy

Authored by: Deanna D. Caputo , David Dunning

Handbook of Eyewitness Psychology

Print publication date:  October  2006
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780805881073
eBook ISBN: 9781315805535
Adobe ISBN: 9781317777830


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An eyewitness has just looked up from the lineup to disclose to the criminal investigator what her decision is. She may have incriminated the suspect as the person who committed the crime. Or, she may have concluded that the culprit is not in the lineup. The criminal investigator now faces the question that is the central issue discussed in this chapter: how to tell whether the witness’s decision is an accurate one or one that is wrong. What signs in the eyewitness’s behavior does the investigator look for? What questions should be asked of the witness? What circumstances surrounding the crime or the identification procedure should be noted? In a sense, the critical task facing the investigator is one of post-diction: The investigator must now look back on all of the information available to determine whether that eyewitness’s decision is likely to be an accurate one.

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