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Memory and Law$
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Lynn Nadel and Walter P. Sinnott-Armstrong

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199920754

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199920754.001.0001

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Lineup Procedures in Eyewitness Identification

Lineup Procedures in Eyewitness Identification

(p.59) 3 Lineup Procedures in Eyewitness Identification
Memory and Law

Scott D. Gronlund

Charles A. Goodsell

Shannon M. Andersen

Oxford University Press

Faulty eyewitness identification is a leading reason that innocent people are convicted and incarcerated. Wells (1978) introduced a distinction between two sets of variables that affect the accuracy of identification decisions: estimator and system variables. Estimator variables are factors like the adverse effects on encoding of stress or the difficulty of cross-race identifications. Little can be done to circumvent these effects. However, system variables are under the control of the criminal justice system and research has been directed at developing procedures to enhance the accuracy of eyewitness identification. The chapter considers four categories of system variable research involving lineups: content, instructions, behavioral influence, and presentation method. The chapter reviews the evidence supporting each and update recommendations made by Wells et al. (1998). Particular attention is directed at sequential versus simultaneous lineup presentation methods because the ostensible advantage of sequential lineups has been the most influential system-variable reform.

Keywords:   eyewitness identification, system and estimator variables, sequential and simultaneous lineups, lineup composition, administration, and instructions

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