In this study, 232 (89 11- to-12-year-olds, 71 13- to-14-year-olds; 72 15- to-16-year-olds) students recruited from grades 6th–11th in an urban public high school participated in a study of eyewitness identification. The focus of this study was on the effects of age, gender and moral orientation on decisional bias and, as a secondary outcome, on accuracy (using signal detection analysis). The primary purpose of this and previous studies in this series is to uncover implicit moral decision-making in decisional bias. In this study the perpetrator, the bystanders and the foil were all females. Prior to completing the eyewitness identification task, participants were given instructions that emphasized either (a) fairness and crime prevention, or (b) neither. These instructions had no discernible effect on accuracy but, as in past studies, younger participants (below the age of 13) had lower decisional criteria, resulting in a higher rate of false alarms/positives. Further, those who judged the transgression as worse had a lower decisional criterion, indicating more false alarms. Females were more accurate than the males in identifying the female perpetrator and scored significantly higher on how bad they would feel if they were the victim than did the males.
Available for download on Thursday, November 25, 2021