Distorted Retrospective Eyewitness Reports as Functions of Feedback and Delay Article

cited authors

  • Wells, GL; Olspn, EA; Charman, SD

fiu authors


  • Participant-witnesses viewed a crime video and attempted to identify the culprit from a culprit-absent lineup. The 253 mistaken-identification eyewitnesses were randomly given confirming, disconfirming, or no feedback regarding their identifications. Feedback was immediate or delayed 48 hr, and measures were immediate or delayed 48 hr. Confirming, but not disconfirming, feedback led to distortions of eyewitnesses' recalled confidence, amount of attention paid during witnessing, goodness of view, ability to make out facial details, length of time to identification, and other measures related to the witnessing experience. Unexpectedly, neither delaying the measures nor delaying feedback for 48 hr moderated these effects. The results underscore the need for double-blind lineups and neutral assessments of eyewitnesses' certainty and other judgments prior to feedback.

publication date

  • January 1, 2003

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 42

end page

  • 52


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