Eyewitness Descriptions, Accuracy of

Police investigators will frequently request that a witness to a crime provide a verbal description of the alleged perpetrator. Such descriptions provide critical information that the police use throughout an investigation, from the identification of possible suspects in the vicinity of the crime, to the selection of photographs for mug books or lineup identification arrays, to the construction of sketches or composites that may be distributed to the general public. Although descriptions of persons are often accurate, they unfortunately also tend to lack sufficient detail to single out an individual suspect.

Quantity versus Quality of Person Descriptions

Numerous archival studies have examined the quantity and quality of person descriptions provided in real cases. On average, witnesses tend to provide between 7 and 10 descriptors, and these descriptors ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles