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Live Showups and Their Influence on a Subsequent Video Line-up


Professor Tim Valentine, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW.



A live showup (known as a street identification in the UK) allows the perpetrator to be identified shortly after a street crime. If the suspect disputes the identification, a video line-up often ensues. Four experiments examined the reliability of live showups and their influence on a subsequent video line-up using realistic procedures and conditions. Similar proportions of culprits and innocent suspects were identified from live showups and video line-ups. Both culprits and innocent suspects previously identified were likely to be identified again in a subsequent line-up, with delays from a few minutes to a month. Only a weak effect of clothing bias was observed. There was strong evidence of commitment to a previous identification but no reliable evidence of source monitoring errors. The results suggest that a live showup is not less fair than a line-up, but the use of repeated identification procedures introduces an unfair bias against innocent suspects. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.