The showup identification procedure: An exploration of systematic biases
Article first published online: 30 MAY 2012
©2012 The British Psychological Society
Legal and Criminological Psychology
How to Cite
Lawson, V. Z. and Dysart, J. E. (2012), The showup identification procedure: An exploration of systematic biases. Legal and Criminological Psychology. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8333.2012.02057.x
- Article first published online: 30 MAY 2012
- Received 9 January 2011; revised version received 10 April 2012
Purpose. Showups are common, yet little research has investigated the biasing factors that may influence showup identifications. We investigated the effects of cross-race conditions and clothing bias on showup identification decisions. Additionally, we explored identification decisions made in a subsequent lineup dependent on race, clothing, and showup-target-presence.
Methods. Participants watched a mock crime and were presented with a showup in which suspect race, target-presence, and the clothing worn by the suspect were varied. Following a delay, participants viewed a target-present or -absent lineup and were asked to make a second identification decision.
Results. Presentation of the suspect in the clothing worn by the perpetrator increased choosing rates in both own-race and other-race conditions. Despite this, differential patterns of decision response latencies indicated that eyewitnesses may use clothing information differently when making own-race compared to other-race identification decisions. No evidence for an own-race bias in showup identifications was found; however, other-race lineup identifications were less accurate than own-race lineup identifications. Further, participants in own-race and other-race conditions differed in the extent to which they were affected by multiple identification procedures. Viewing an own-race innocent suspect in a showup increased subsequent false lineup identifications, while choosing the innocent suspect from the showup was necessary to increase false lineup identifications in other-race conditions.
Conclusions. Different situational factors may affect the identification accuracy of eyewitnesses in own-race and other-race conditions for both showup and lineup procedures. Particular caution is advised when showups are clothing-biased and multiple identification procedures are used.