Does Post-identification Feedback Affect Evaluations of Eyewitness Testimony and Identification Procedures?
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Two experiments were conducted to test whether post-identification feedback affects evaluations of eyewitnesses. In Experiment 1 (N = 156), evaluators viewed eyewitness testimony. They evaluated witnesses who received confirming post-identification feedback as more accurate and more confident, among other judgments, compared with witnesses who received disconfirming post-identification feedback or no feedback. This pattern persisted regardless of whether the witness’s confidence statement was included in the testimony. In Experiment 2 (N = 161), witness evaluators viewed the actual identification procedure in which feedback was delivered. Instructions to disregard the feedback were manipulated. Again, witnesses who received confirming feedback were assessed more positively. This pattern occurred even when witness evaluators received instructions to disregard the feedback. These experiments are the first to confirm researchers’ assumptions that feedback effects on witnesses translate to changes in judgments of those witnesses.
KeywordsPost-identification feedback Eyewitness memory Testimony
We thank Erik Hood, Sarah Jordan, and Amy Rosania for their assistance in data collection and data entry for witness data in Experiment 1. We thank Afton Pavletic for her assistance in producing portions of the manuscript. We also thank Andrea Lichtman whose senior honors thesis inspired Experiment 1.
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