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Purpose. Intervening line-ups affect identification accuracy in subsequent line-ups. We conducted 3 experiments to investigate the conditions under which viewing multiple line-ups is more likely to affect eyewitness identification accuracy.

Method. In each of the 3 experiments, a forensically relevant factor known to affect the accuracy of face recognition memory was manipulated to assess how the factor impacted the suggestive influence of an intervening line-up on eyewitness identification accuracy in a subsequent test line-up. These factors were (a) in Experiment 1, same-race versus cross race target faces, (b) in Experiment 2, whether the intervening line-up occurred on the day of the presentation phase (close to presentation) or 1 month later on the day of the subsequent test line-up (far from presentation), and (c) in Experiment 3, whether the target face was presented for 10 seconds or 60 seconds.

Results. In each experiment, factors associated with poorer memory for the target face led to a greater suggestive influence of the intervening line-up on identification accuracy in the subsequent line-up, evidenced by lower hit rates and higher false-alarm rates.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that the problem of decreased identification accuracy following the viewing of an intervening photograph is especially of concern when memory for the perpetrator is likely to be poor. Implications of these findings for interpreting line-up results in the courtroom are discussed.