Date of Award

Spring 6-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Steven Penrod

Second Reader

Michael Leippe

Third Advisor

Tarika Daftary Kapur

Abstract

Recent advances in eyewitness identification research has been rapidly expanding with emergence of new eyewitness phenomena. At the same time, the number of experts being call upon to testify in court to the reliability of these various phenomena are also increasingly. For such testimony to be admissible, it must meet various criteria of general acceptance established by the courts. In the current study, 54 experts responded to a survey to assess the extent of their consensus of general acceptance of various eyewitness phenomena, collect information on their demographics, opinions regarding various other courtroom phenomenon and assess the impact of recent literature on perceptions of reliability and general acceptance of the same phenomena. The findings revealed that there are high levels of agreement amongst experts on a variety of topics such as Showups, Blind Administration, Description Matched Lineup, Weapons Focus, Elderly Witness, High Identification Confidence, Lineup Fairness and Change Blindness. Familiarity with various eyewitness research publications was also noted to have an effect on expert’s perception of general acceptance, assessments of reliability of eyewitness phenomena and willingness to testify in court. The implications of these findings with regards to the development of eyewitness consensus and expert testimony are discussed.

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