Confidence in Identifications

The confidence that eyewitnesses express in their decision at an identification test or lineup has long been recognized within the criminal justice system as an indicator of the likely reliability or accuracy of the witness. In contrast, psychology researchers have downplayed the diagnostic value of eyewitness identification confidence. Although only a relatively small proportion of the variance in identification accuracy is associated with variance in confidence, recent research using what is known as a confidence-accuracy (CA) calibration procedure suggests that confidence—measured immediately after the identification decision—can provide a useful (but not infallible) pointer for crime investigators to the likely accuracy of positive but not negative (i.e., lineup rejections) lineup decisions. This conclusion definitely does not apply, however, to confidence judgments expressed in the courtroom as, ...

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