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NCJ Number: 50916 Find in a Library
Title: CRIME SERIOUSNESS AS A DETERMINANT OF ACCURACY IN EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION
Journal: JOURNAL OF APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY  Volume:63  Issue:3  Dated:(JUNE 1978)  Pages:345-351
Author(s): M R LEIPPE; G L WELLS; T M OSTROM
Corporate Author: American Psychological Assoc
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: American Psychological Assoc
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
Sale Source: Ohio State University
Dept of Psychology
404c West 17th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: WITNESSES OF A STAGED THEFT ARE MORE LIKELY TO MAKE AN ACCURATE IDENTIFICATION OF THE THIEF WHEN THEY KNOW THE OBJECT HAS HIGH VALUE. WITH NO PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF VALUE THIS DIFFERENCE IN ACCURACY DISAPPEARS.
Abstract: AT OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY 65 MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS WITNESSED THE 'THEFT' OF A BROWN PAPER BAG. BEFORE THE EXPERIMENT BEGAN 16 WERE TOLD THAT IT CONTAINED A CALCULATOR A STUDENT WOULD PICK UP, 16 WERE TOLD IT CONTAINED CIGARETTES, AND 33 WERE TOLD NOTHING ALTHOUGH 17 WERE TOLD IT HAD A CALCULATOR AND 16 CIGARETTES AFTER THE THEFT. THE 65 SUBJECTS REMAINED AFTER THOSE WHO WERE SUSPICIOUS ABOUT THE PURPOSE OF THE EXPERIMENT HAD BEEN SCREENED OUT. THOSE WHO THOUGHT THE BAG CONTAINED A CALCULATOR HAD 56 PERCENT ACCURACY WHEN SHOWN PICTURES OF SUSPECTS AND ASKED TO MAKE AN IDENTIFICATION. THOSE WHO THOUGHT IT CONTAINED CIGARETTES BUT LATER WERE GIVEN THE HIGH VALUE HAD 12.5 PERCENT ACCURACY WHILE THOSE GIVEN THE LOW VALUE HAD 35.3 PERCENT ACCURACY. CERTAINTY OF IDENTIFICATION HAD NO RELATIONSHIP TO ACCURACY. IT WAS ALSO FOUND THAT THOSE WHO FELT THE CRIME WAS SERIOUS HAD A LARGER PERCENTAGE OF CORRECT IDENTIFICATION THAN THOSE WHO DID NOT FEEL IT WAS SERIOUS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT PROSECUTORS CAN PUT MORE FAITH IN EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATIONS WHEN THE CRIME IS A SERIOUS ONE. HOWEVER, THEY ARE WARNED AGAINST IDENTIFICATIONS MADE BY PERSONS WHO ARE POSITIVE. THE EXPERIMENT IS DESCRIBED IN DETAIL. REFERENCES ARE APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Larceny/Theft; Line-up; Studies; Suspect identification; Witnesses
Note: PORTIONS OF THIS PAPER WERE PRESENTED AT THE MEETING OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSN, WASHINGTON, D C, SEPTEMBER, 1976
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50916

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