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The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

On-line version ISSN 1989-4007Print version ISSN 1889-1861


KNELLER, Wendy  and  HARVEY, Alistair J.. Lineup identification accuracy: the effects of alcohol, target presence, confidence ratings, and response time. The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context [online]. 2016, vol.8, n.1, pp.11-18. ISSN 1989-4007.

Despite the intoxication of many eyewitnesses at crime scenes, only four published studies to date have investigated the effects of alcohol intoxication on eyewitness identification performance. While one found intoxication significantly increased false identification rates from target absent showups, three found no such effect using the more traditional lineup procedure. The present study sought to further explore the effects of alcohol intoxication on identification performance and examine whether accurate decisions from intoxicated witnesses could be postdicted by confidence and response times. One hundred and twenty participants engaged in a study examining the effects of intoxication (control, placebo, and mild intoxication) and target presence on identification performance. Participants viewed a simultaneous lineup one week after watching a mock crime video of a man attempting to steal cars. Ethanol intoxication (0.6 ml/kg) was found to make no significant difference to identification accuracy and such identifications from intoxicated individuals were made no less confidently or slowly than those from sober witnesses. These results are discussed with respect to the previous research examining intoxicated witness identification accuracy and the misconceptions the criminal justice system holds about the accuracy of such witnesses.

Keywords : Alcohol intoxication; Eyewitness identification accuracy; Confidence; Decision times.

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