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Challenging Police Lineups

A recent 2009 study performed at the University of Central Missouri raises, once again the fallibility of Police Lineups.

The study found that false identifications increased, correct rejections decreased, and correct identifications minimally increased when witnesses were allowed a second viewing of a sequential lineup.

The authors/researchers of the study allowed mock witnesses a second viewing of a sequential lineup. The sesults indicated that participants who were allowed a second viewing made mostly incorrect identifications.

The participants correctly identified the perpetrator more often when they were not told in advance that they would have a second viewing than when they were told. Additionally, those participants who were told that they would be allowed a second viewing incorrectly rejected the lineup more often than those who were not told.

The findings yielded conclusions similar to another study appearing in 1991 in the Journal of Applied Psychology which strongly suggested that witnesses should not be allowed to view the lineup a second time. The results also suggest that, if a repeated lineup is used, witnesses should not be informed of that in advance.

Keywords  Eyewitness recognition – Sequential lineup


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H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
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