The Impact of the "Not Sure" Option on Lineup Identification Decisions Thesis

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Kekessie, Seyram


  • Law enforcement officials routinely rely on eyewitness identification evidence to solve crimes. Nonetheless, this form of evidence is prone to errors. Researchers have previously attempted to examine conditions under which such errors can be reduced. The present study examines whether giving witnesses an explicit not sure response option increases the accuracy of lineup identification decisions. 251 participants watched a mock crime video before viewing a lineup that either included the perpetrator, or was made up of innocent suspects. Results indicated that witnesses provided with a not sure option made fewer false identifications, fewer filler identifications, and a similar number of correct identifications as witnesses who were not provided with this option. Furthermore, these benefits occurred regardless of whether witnesses received otherwise biased or unbiased instructions. Results suggest that the inclusion of an explicit not sure response option is a simple procedure that can increase the quality of eyewitness lineup decisions.

publication date

  • January 11, 2013


  • lineup identification

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)