Improving line-up identifications using the mystery man procedure

A wealth of research has investigated how good people are at being eyewitnesses. This involves investigating how accurate witnesses are at correctly identifying a previously seen culprit from a line-up, and also whether witnesses choose someone from a line-up, even if the culprit is not there. Many of these studies have found that children and adults over the age of 60,  are more likely to make false identifications when shown a line-up that does not contain a culprit. To reduce false identifications a new technique called the Mystery Man procedure was developed,  which involves placing a silhouette in the line-up. The two studies discussed here, found that using the mystery man procedure can significantly reduce false identifications, without reducing correct identifications, for both children and older adults. The results of this research suggest that this technique could easily be implemented in police line-ups to make eyewitness identifications more accurate.

Presentation time: 
Wednesday, 2 July, 2014 - 15:30
Presenter(s): 

Catriona Havard

Catriona Havard is a lecturer in Psychology. Her research focuses on improving the reliability of eyewitness identifications from lineups, especially for children and older adult witnesses. A short film of her latest research can be viewed here: http://www.open.ac.uk/research/main/news/new-technique-improve-child-witness-evidence

View Catriona's presentation trailer.