Get access

Children's and adults' eyewitness identification accuracy when a culprit changes his appearance: Comparing simultaneous and elimination lineup procedures


Correspondence should be addressed to Joanna Pozzulo, Department of Psychology, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 5B6 (e-mail:


Adults' (N = 239) and children's (N = 177, age range 8–13 years) identification abilities were examined when a culprit underwent a change in appearance following the commission of a crime. Simultaneous and elimination lineup procedures were compared to determine the reliability of each under ‘change in appearance’ conditions. Participants viewed a staged, videotaped theft and then examined a target-present or -absent lineup. Correct identifications (target-present lineups) decreased following a change in appearance regardless of age of witness and lineup procedure. Children's correct rejection rates (target-absent lineups) were lower than those of adults. The elimination procedure compared with the simultaneous procedure was more effective at increasing correct rejections when the lineup members matched the culprit's appearance for children and adults. When lineup members did not match the culprit's appearance, correct rejection rates were similar across the two identification procedures for both aged groups.