Variations of Salient Rejection Options: Does One Work Best for Adolescents and Adults?

  • Emily PicaEmail author
  • Lauren E. Thompson
  • Joanna Pozzulo
  • Julie Dempsey
  • Jennifer Pettalia


Adolescents (15- to 17-years, N = 366) and adults (18- to 57-years, N = 345) were shown a videotaped theft and following a brief delay were presented with a target-present or target-absent simultaneous lineup that contained one of four variations of a “not here” graphical representation or a control with no graphical representation. Variations included: “silhouette and question mark box” vs. “silhouette box” vs. “question mark box” vs. “not here box” vs. no box (i.e., control). Lineup instructions for each option included a statement that the perpetrator may or may not be present. Participants were more likely to make an accurate identification when presented with a target-present lineup compared to a target-absent lineup. Including some form of graphical representation of “not here” did not increase the correct identification or correct rejection rates compared to when no representation was presented with the lineup. Adolescents and adults provided a comparable number of perpetrator descriptors; however, overall, adolescents produced a higher proportion of accurate responses. Participants who reported more perpetrator descriptors also were more likely to make a correct identification or correct rejection in the subsequent identification task.


Eyewitness Adolescent Young adult Identification abilities Perpetrator descriptors 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Pica
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lauren E. Thompson
    • 2
  • Joanna Pozzulo
    • 2
  • Julie Dempsey
    • 3
  • Jennifer Pettalia
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychological Science and CounselingAustin Peay State UniversityClarksvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  3. 3.Sheridan College, Police Foundations ProgramBramptonCanada

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