Effects of postidentification feedback on eyewitness identification and nonidentification confidence.

Research paper by Carolyn C Semmler, Neil N Brewer, Gary L GL Wells

Indexed on: 07 Apr '04Published on: 07 Apr '04Published in: The Journal of applied psychology


Two experiments investigated new dimensions of the effect of confirming feedback on eyewitness identification confidence using target-absent and target-present lineups and (previously unused) unbiased witness instructions (i.e., "offender not present" option highlighted). In Experiment 1, participants viewed a crime video and were later asked to try to identify the thief from an 8-person target-absent photo array. Feedback inflated witness confidence for both mistaken identifications and correct lineup rejections. With target-present lineups in Experiment 2, feedback inflated confidence for correct and mistaken identifications and lineup rejections. Although feedback had no influence on the confidence-accuracy correlation, it produced clear overconfidence. Confidence inflation varied with the confidence measure reference point (i.e., retrospective vs. current confidence) and identification response latency.