Eyewitness identification rates in showups as a function of role of presenter

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Ross, Stephen J.
Pickel, Kerri L.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Psychological Science
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This study was designed to test for the effect of role of presenter during a showup (one-person lineup) and eyewitnesses' authoritarianism on identification rates. Specifically, this study addressed the question of whether or not eyewitnesses are more likely to identify a suspect as the perpetrator of a crime when they make their identifications to a police officer rather than a civilian, and whether authoritarianism interacts with presenter role. 169 participants witnessed a staged theft and were then asked to make an identification of a suspect in a showup. Interpretation of the results suggested that the presence of a police officer during a showup increases identification rates of the suspect. Also, a higher level of authoritarianism in the eyewitness and the presence of a police officer increase the confidence eyewitnesses have in their identification. Implications for law enforcement and future research are discussed. Acknowledgements: Special thanks to David Taylor, Emily Zumbaugh, KimberlyBolich, and Christina Waddups for their assistance with data collection.