A Teaching Aid for Improving Jurors' Assessments of Eyewitness Accuracy


Correspondence to: Martin A. Safer, Department of Psychology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USA.

E-mail: safer@cua.edu


We investigated whether education can improve mock jurors' assessments of eyewitness accuracy in a criminal case. The interview-identification-eyewitness (I-I-Eye) teaching aid directed participants to attend carefully to how law enforcement interviewed the eyewitness and conducted the identification procedure, before considering what eyewitness factors during the crime might affect accurate identification. After viewing the I-I-Eye or one of two control aids, 293 undergraduate participants read a trial transcript about a criminal case that contained either strong or weak eyewitness evidence. The police consistently followed proper procedures for eyewitness evidence in the strong case, but not in the weak case. Only the I-I-Eye participants demonstrated sensitivity to the strong and weak eyewitness evidence by rendering more guilty verdicts in the strong compared with the weak case. The I-I-Eye teaching aid provides a framework for analyzing eyewitness testimony that may improve jurors' and legal professionals' assessments of eyewitness accuracy in criminal cases. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.