Designing police lineups to maximize memory performance

Travis Seale-Carlisle, Stacy A. Wetmore, Heather Flowe, Laura Mickes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
825 Downloads (Pure)


How can lineups be designed to elicit the best achievable memory performance? One step toward that goal is to compare lineup procedures. In a recent comparison of U.S. and U.K. lineup procedures, discriminability and reliability was better when memory was tested using the U.S. procedure. However, because there are so many differences between the procedures, it is unclear what explains this superior performance. The main goal of the current research is, therefore, to systematically isolate the differences between the U.S. and U.K. lineups to determine their effects on discriminability and reliability. In 5 experiments, we compared (a) presentation format: simultaneous versus sequential; (b) stimulus format: photos versus videos; (c) number of views: 1-lap versus 2-lap versus choice in both video and photo lineups; and (d) lineup size: 6- versus 9-lineup members. Most of the comparisons did not show appreciable differences, but one comparison did: simultaneous presentation yielded better discriminability than sequential presentation. If the results replicate, then policymakers should recommend using a simultaneous lineup procedure. Moreover, consistent with previous research, identifications made with high confidence were higher in reliability than identifications made with low confidence. Thus, official lineup protocols should require collecting confidence because of the diagnostic value added.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-430
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019


  • Eyewitness identification
  • confidence-accuracy
  • discriminability
  • sequential lineup
  • simultaneous lineup


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