Eyewitness memory in adults

Carlos Manuel Vargas, University of Texas at El Paso


This study encompasses the areas of eyewitness misidentifications and eyewitness suggestibility by developing a Video Suggestibility and Eyewitness Identification Scale for adults. Two hundred one college students were recruited to test this novel psychometric scale following procedures loosely based on the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales. The two main subscales proposed are labeled True, which measures non-leading questions answered correctly, and Yield, which measures questions endorsed based on misinformation; two lineup identification subscales were also analyzed for exploration. Reliability estimates showed acceptable internal consistency of True and Yield subscales after negative feedback was provided; while reliability in Target Present Lineups increased and in Target Absent Lineups decreased after negative feedback was provided. True and Yield scores formed two separate distributions that were affected by negative feedback and question repetition. Remarkably, exploratory correlation analyses offered interesting associations between Yield and false positive responses to Target Absent Lineups. Following a criterion-shift model developed from Signal Detection Theory, Response criteria as measured by c were found to reflect a yes-saying bias for questions and a no-saying bias for lineups; both tendencies decreased after negative feedback was provided. On the other hand, participants showed an adequate ability to detect a correct signal compared while rejecting its absence as indexed by discrimination accuracy. The introduction of the VSEISA should be considered a work in progress and could ultimately create a potential shift in the theoretical direction of the assessment of interrogative suggestibility eyewitness' identification.

Subject Area

Experimental psychology|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Vargas, Carlos Manuel, "Eyewitness memory in adults" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1540008.