Diagnosing eyewitness identifications with reaction time-based concealed information test: the effect of observation time

Melanie Sauerland*, Dave Koller, Astrid Bastiaens, Bruno Verschuere

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Eyewitness identification procedures rely heavily on explicit identification from lineups. Lineups have been criticized because they have a considerable error rate. We tested the potential of implicit identifications in a Concealed Information Test (CIT) as an alternative. Previous experiments have suggested that implicit identification procedures might be suited when viewing conditions were favorable. In two experiments, mock eyewitnesses (Ns = 94, 509) witnessed a videotaped mock theft with longer or shorter observation time. We derived eyewitness identifications either implicitly from CIT reaction times or explicitly from simultaneous photo lineups. In Experiment 2, we also manipulated perpetrator presence. In both experiments, the perpetrator-present CIT showed capacity to diagnose face recognition, with large effect sizes (dE1 = 0.85 [0.51; 1.18]; dE2 = 0.74 [0.52; 0.96]), as expected. Unexpectedly, no moderation by observation time was found. In line with our hypothesis, no CIT effect emerged in the perpetrator-absent condition, indicating the absence of recognition (dE2 = 0.02 [- 0.17; 0.20]). We found no compelling evidence that one method would outperform the other. This work adds to accumulating evidence that suggests that, under favorable viewing conditions and replication provided, the RT-CIT might be diagnostic of facial recognition, for example when witnesses are hesitant of making an explicit identification. Future work might investigate conditions that affect performance in one, but not the other identification method.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalPsychological Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • ACCURACY
  • CLOTHES
  • FACE RECOGNITION
  • FAMILIARITY
  • HEART-RATE
  • INDEXES
  • METAANALYSIS
  • POLICE LINEUPS
  • RECOMMENDATIONS
  • SKIN-CONDUCTANCE

Cite this