Biased Lineup Instructions: Examining the Effect of Pressure on Children's and Adults' Eyewitness Identification Accuracy

Authors


  • 1This research was supported by a grant by the Social Sciences Research Council of Canada to the first author.

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of pressure on lineup decisions across child and adult eyewitnesses. In both experiments, participants were exposed to a target via videotape and then presented with a 6-person, target-absent lineup. Pressure was manipulated via lineup instructions (neutral vs. biased instructions). With neutral lineup instructions, children had a higher false-positive rate than did adults. With biased lineup instructions, children's patterns of false-positive responding paralleled that of adults; that is, an increase in false positives occurred. These results suggest that social pressure may not be the only factor driving children's higher false-positive responding, compared to adults. Potential factors that may be affecting children's lineup decision processes are discussed.

Ancillary