Interference in eyewitness and earwitness recognition



Face identification and voice identification were examined using a standard old/new recognition task in order to see whether seeing and hearing the target interfered with subsequent recognition. Participants studied either visual or audiovisual stimuli prior to a face recognition test, and studied either audio or audiovisual stimuli prior to a voice recognition test. Analysis of recognition performance revealed a greater ability to recognise faces than voices. More importantly, faces accompanying voices at study interfered with subsequent voice identification but voices accompanying faces at study did not interfere with subsequent face identification. These results are similar to those obtained in previous research using a lineup methodology, and are discussed with respect to the interference that can result when earwitnesses are also eyewitnesses. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.