Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Matthew H Scullin
The current study was an examination of eyewitness accuracy and how it relates to misidentification. A new scale to measure suggestibility in adults (The Video Suggestibility Scale for Adults, VSSA) was developed. This scale is modeled after the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scales, which define suggestibility as a combination of Yield and Shift. Participants (N = 160) were administered the VSSA. Participants watched a video of two crimes and were subsequently interviewed either immediately or after a 5-8 day delay. The interview consisted of free recall, open-ended questions, and closed-ended questions suggestive questions. Participants also viewed several lineups to assess accuracy of identification of perpetrators. Results indicated that participants yielded to the suggestions made by the interviewer and shifted their answers in response to negative feedback. Timing of interview had an effect on Yield 1, Shift, and Total Suggestibility, with individuals who were interviewed immediately having lower Yield 1, Shift, and Total Suggestibility scores. Individuals who were interviewed after a delay were more likely to decline in the accuracy of their responses to probe questions than those who were interviewed immediately. Participants who were more suggestible were more likely to incorrectly select a perpetrator from a target-absent lineup, as were those who scored high on the Yield 2 subscale. These findings have important implications for how witnesses should be interviewed.
Bonner, Karri, "An assessment of eyewitness accuracy: The integration of suggestibility and misidentification" (2005). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 4135.