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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 70747 Find in a Library
Title: Influence of Stereotypes on Person Identification (From Psychology, Law and Legal Processes, P 184-194, 1979, by D P Farrington, et al - See NCJ - 70738
Author(s): R Bull
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Humanities Press, Inc.
Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
Sale Source: Humanities Press, Inc.
17 First Avenue
Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Results are reported from experiments that examined the public's tendency to relate deviant behavior to facial characteristics.
Abstract: Although there is no clear evidence that the character of a person's behavior is related to his/her physical apperarance, a review of relevant research shows that the general public does tend to believe that abnormal or unattractive physical features are yoked to deviant behavior, while attractive or 'normal' features attend normative or 'good' behavior. The present study involved the showing of color portrait photographs to three audiences, each composed of about 20 first-year undergraduates. Each person was asked to respond to each of 11 photographs of different adults by indicating on 9-point scales their strengths of agreement with each of 10 statements. For all the audiences, 8 of the photographs (4 male, 4 female) were exactly the same, and the photos were always shown in the same order. The remaining 3 photos (which were interspersed among the others), while each being of the same person, were slightly different from audience to audience. To examine how agreement with the statements varied with the particular audience, a number of two-way analyses of variance were performed. Results showed that the amount of facial disfigurement, simulated by degrees in photographs of the same person, did affect judgments about the honesty and behavior of the persons. The general findings of these experiments cast doubt on the objectivity with which persons can describe or later identify individuals observed or encountered in the commission of a crime. For related documents, see NCJ70738-46 and 70748. References (about 15) are provided.
Index Term(s): Interview and interrogation; Participant identification; Psychological research; Testimony; Witnesses
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