'This Is the person you selected' : eyewitnesses' blindness for their own facial recognition decisions

A. Sagana*, M. Sauerland, H. Merckelbach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of the current research was to identify conditions under which choice blindness in facial recognition decisions occurs. In five experiments, participants watched four mock-crime videos and made choices that were either evaluative (Experiment 1) or absolute in nature (Experiments 2a-c and 3). When participants were subsequently asked to motivate their choice, they were sometimes presented with choices they had not made. For evaluative decisions, concurrent (27%) and retrospective blindness rates (21%) were relatively low compared with previous studies. For absolute decisions, choice-blindness rates varied, depending on when exposure to the manipulated outcome took place (immediate: concurrent 32-35%, retrospective 0-6% [Experiments 2a-c]; 48hours' delay: concurrent 68%, retrospective 39% [Experiment 3]). We argue that blindness for facial recognition decisions is more likely for evaluative decisions and for longer intervals between decision and manipulation and also for conditions of increased task complexity, which we interpret in terms of ambiguity. Copyright (c) 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-764
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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