This research was supported by National Institute of Justice Grant (82-1J-CX0012) to the second author.
The Confidence-Accuracy Relationship: The Effects of Confidence Assessment and Choosing1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 171–187, February 1987
How to Cite
Fleet, M. L., Brigham, J. C. and Bothwell, R. K. (1987), The Confidence-Accuracy Relationship: The Effects of Confidence Assessment and Choosing. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 17: 171–187. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1987.tb00308.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Male and female college undergraduates were exposed to a staged theft. For half of the subjects, confidence judgments were assessed both before and after viewing a photo lineup. For the other half, confidence judgments were assessed only after viewing the lineup. Subjects in both conditions viewed a target-present or target-absent lineup under negativey biased, unbiased, or positively biased instructions. Across all subjects, confidence and accuracy were significantly correlated (r= .30). There was a significantly stronger relationship between confidence and accuracy among choosers (r= 50) than among nonchoosers (r= .14). Choosing and confidence did not correlate significantly with each other. Identification accuracy was significantly poorer when witnesses had been asked before viewing the lineup to state their confidence that they would make an accurate identification than when confidence was measured only after an identification had been attempted. However, the before-after manipulation did not affect the magnitude of the confidence-accuracy relationship. The present results offer some support for the general proposition that choosing and the timing of confidence assessments should be viewed as moderating variables in the interpretation of the confidence-accuracy relationship. These data offer little support for predictions based upon self-perception theory and are in direct disagreement with the widely held assertion that witnesses are confident in whatever choice they make, regardless of its correctness.