Identification abilities of children: Does a verbal description hurt face recognition?

Amina Memon, R. Rose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The majority of research conducted on child eyewitness identification lineup performance has found that children are less accurate than adults at identifying the perpetrator correctly, or indeed, not identifying anyone in a target absent lineup. The standard procedure involved in setting up a lineup is to gain descriptions of the perpetrator from the witnesses. However, Schooler and Engster-Schooler (1990) suggest that gaining a verbal description of the perpetrator may later interfere with identification performance because the verbal memory overshadows the visual memory (verbal overshadowing). As yet there appears to have been no systematic investigations of verbal overshadowing in children. Fifty-two children aged 8-9 years witnessed a live event in their classroom, after a 24-hour delay they were randomly assigned to a description/no description condition, and then viewed either target present lineups or target absent lineups. The results revealed no verbal overshadowing effects. The children were more accurate on target present lineups than on target absent lineups. The null results are discussed with reference to the role of retrieval instructions, the quality of face descriptions and the processes governing decisions in target absent as compared to target present lineups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-242
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology, Crime & Law
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • child eyewitness
  • identification accuracy
  • EYEWITNESS IDENTIFICATION
  • PERCEPTUAL EXPERTISE
  • LINEUPS
  • ACCURACY
  • MEMORY
  • REPRESENTATION
  • SUGGESTIBILITY
  • TESTIMONY
  • ADULTS

Cite this