Phenomenological reports diagnose accuracy of eyewitness identification decisions

Matthew A. Palmer, Neil Brewer*, Anna C. McKinnon, Nathan Weber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated whether measuring the phenomenology of eyewitness identification decisions aids evaluation of their accuracy. Witnesses (N = 502) viewed a simulated crime and attempted to identify two targets from lineups. A divided attention manipulation during encoding reduced the rate of remember (R) correct identifications, but not the rates of R foil identifications or know (K) judgments in the absence of recollection (i.e., K/[1 - R]). Both RK judgments and recollection ratings (a novel measure of graded recollection) distinguished correct from incorrect positive identifications. However, only recollection ratings improved accuracy evaluation after identification confidence was taken into account. These results provide evidence that RK judgments for identification decisions function in a similar way as for recognition decisions; are consistent with the notion of graded recollection; and indicate that measures of phenomenology can enhance the evaluation of identification accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalActa Psychologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


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