Response to Lindsay, Mansour, Beaudry, Leach and Bertrand's Sequential lineup presentation: Patterns and policy


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Roy S. Malpass, Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Avenue, El Paso, TX 79968 USA (e-mail:


This paper is a response to the earlier paper by Lindsay, Mansour, Beaudry, Leach and Bertrand (2009). We argue that eyewitness research is an important public good and that high-quality in research and policy formulations offered to the public interest is required to maintain our standing of trust. We argue that even though sequential lineups have been successfully codified in some jurisdictions as the exclusive eyewitness identification procedure, the claim of sequential superiority is built upon errors in the research process and that the evidence of reduced false identification with sequential lineups is completely offset by reductions in correct identifications. We reject the idea that the loss of correct identifications can be dismissed as guessing on the basis that this is speculative and that there is no published empirical support for the idea. We reject the idea that false identifications are necessarily more valuable for society to reduce than are correct identifications to achieve. Improvements in eyewitness identification are important, and interesting lines of investigation are available. It is questionable whether the sequential lineup is important among them.