Confidence and Response Time as Indicators of Eyewitness Identification Accuracy in the Lab and in the Real World

Travis M. Seale-Carlisle*, Melissa F. Colloff, Heather D. Flowe, William Wells, John T. Wixted, Laura Mickes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
302 Downloads (Pure)


The criminal justice system should consider the confidence an eyewitness expresses when making an identification at the time the initial lineup procedure is conducted. High confidence expressed at this time typically indicates high accuracy in the identification. Because the suspect identification—not filler identifications or no identifications – matters most in the court of law, confidence-accuracy characteristic (CAC) analysis provides information most relevant to stakeholders. However, just as high confidence identifications indicate high accuracy, fast identifications may also indicate high accuracy. We tested whether a new technique that is similar to CAC analysis, called response time-accuracy characteristic (RAC) analysis, could inform stakeholders about the likely accuracy of an identification while usefully summarizing response time data. We argue this is the case in the lab and in the real world. Furthermore, CAC and RAC results are not completely redundant so both, considered together, are useful to the criminal justice system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-428
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Confidence
  • Eyewitness identification
  • Police lineup
  • Response time
  • Response-time accuracy characteristic analysis
  • Simultaneous lineup

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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