The Effect of Post-Identification Feedback Evidence and Peripheral Trial Information on Jury Decision Making

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Florida Southern College
Post-Identification Feedback (PIF) is a phenomenon that occurs in the criminal justice system following an identification of a suspect when a lineup administrator gives witnesses information regarding their decision. PIF can impact witnesses’ retrospective judgments about what they saw, such as certainty (Steblay, Wells & Douglass, 2014), making mistaken eyewitnesses appear reliable. PIF is problematic, but it is possible that if jurors are able to recognize and understand the influence PIF has on eyewitness certainty, they can alter the extent to which they use that witness’ testimony in their decision-making. Already, researchers are recommending that jurors be allowed to see videos of eyewitness identification procedures in case PIF has occurred (Kassin, 1998; Steblay, Wells, & Douglass, 2014). However, the authors of this study believe that these videos might create a secondary transfer of certainty; that is, a juror who sees an eyewitness being told they chose the correct person might be more erroneously certain that the eyewitness is correct. To test whether jurors are able to recognize the impact of PIF on an eyewitness, this study utilized a 2 (no feedback vs. feedback) x 2 (no instructions vs. instructions) x 2 (trial type: eyewitness only vs. all info provided) variable design. Participants, who took on the role of mock-juror, were asked to read half of a trial transcript, watch one of two randomly assigned eyewitness identification videos, finish the rest of the trial transcript, and then make verdict decisions and answer questions about their perceptions of the eyewitness.
Honors thesis Spring 2018
Jury, Trials, Eyewitness identification, Police lineups, Judicial error