Improving the accuracy of visual and eyewitness evidence

Pike, Graham (2009). Improving the accuracy of visual and eyewitness evidence. In: The Eighth Biennial Conference of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 26-30 Jul 2009, Kyoto, Japan.


This symposium explores potential methods that can be used to improve the accuracy of eyewitness and visual evidence. Several types of evidence are considered, including eyewitness identification evidence, visual and verbal descriptions, and evidence obtained through repeated exposure to existing visual evidence. As well as several types of evidence, a variety of sources are also explored, such as: adult eyewitnesses; eyewitnesses with mild learning disabilities; officers who view visual evidence; and members of the public who respond to information publicised about an investigation. The four papers follow the acquisition of evidence in an investigation from obtaining visual and verbal descriptions, to presenting facial composites, to viewing visual evidence to testing the eyewitness in an identification procedure. At each stage the paper concerned looks either at a method that could be used to improve the accuracy of the information obtained, or at whether existing methods employed to enhance the accuracy of identification evidence really do succeed in improving it. The symposium will conclude with a discussion section that looks across the range of different visual identification evidence and methods that can be gathered in modern police investigations.

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