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Eyewitness Identification Research Laboratory
At the University of Texas at El Paso

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Lab Members

Faculty.

Roy S. Malpass (Ph.D., Syracuse University) is Professor of Psychology and Criminal Justice. He has published extensively in the areas of face recognition, eyewitness identification, and cross-cultural psychology. He has served as Editor of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (1982-1986), President of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research (1989 - 1990) and President of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (1992 - 1994). He was the founding President of the Psychology and Law Division of the International Association for Applied Psychology (1988-1998). He served as a member of the Technical Working Group on Eyewitness Evidence in the National Institute of Justice, and served as advisor and analyst for the The Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures during 2005-2006. Born and raised in New York's Mohawk Valley, he continues to visit the family cottage on a scenic lake in the Adirondacks where boating and canoeing are favorite activities. When out of the laboratory he may often be found pursuing his hobby in photography and his collection of antique cameras and photographs.[Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format]


Christian A. Meissner (Ph.D., Florida State University) is Assistant Professor of Psychology & Criminal Justice. He has published extensively on social and cognitive factors influencing police investigative interviews, including aspects of eyewitness recall and face recognition (e.g., the description-identification relationship, verbal overshadowing, cross-racial identifications, and lineup identification procedures), the detection of deception in forensic interviews, the evaluation of suspect alibis, and the interrogation of suspects (including techniques that might elicit true vs. false confessions). See more about Prof. Meissner's work and interests on the Investigative Interviewing Research Laboratory website.   [Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format]

Graduate Students.

Stephen J. Ross received his B.A. in Psychology from Roger Williams University (Bristol, RI) in May 1999 and his M.A. in Cognitive and Social Processes from Ball State University (Muncie, IN) in May 2004.  His master’s thesis examined showups to determine if “custodial influence” increases the likelihood of eyewitness identifications.  While his main area of interest is in eyewitness identification procedures, he has also conducted research on the “weapon focus effect”, legal authoritarianism and juror decision-making. Stephen was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. Currently, Stephen is working with the Crimes Against Persons unit of the El Paso Police Department, evaluating the eyewitness identification, interviewing, and interrogation techniques used in criminal investigations.  He plans on pursuing a career in academia and trial consulting. You can visit his webpage at http://utminers.utep.edu/sjross/. When he gets some free time outside of the lab, he enjoys weightlifting, scuba diving, and going to punk/ska concerts (he’s been to about 300 so far), throwing darts and playing pool. [Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format]

Kyle J. Susa received a B.S. in Psychology and Secondary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002. After graduating he taught psychology for three years at Pius XI High School in Milwaukee, and worked as a research assistant in Cognitive Neuroscience. Kyle’s research interests include various aspects of eyewitness memory, facial identification, lie detection and alibis. His current research is on facial identification training, as part of a fellowship from the Department of Homeland Security. You can visit his webpage at http://utminers.utep.edu/kjsusa. In his free time Kyle enjoys traveling, golfing, happy-hour, running, alpine skiing, water-skiing, windsurfing and being an avid Wisconsin Badger fan. His professional goal is to either become a psychology professor, or conduct research for the government. [Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format]

Lisa D. Topp received her B.A. (hons) from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) in 2002, where she studied guided imagery and source monitoring.  She also worked with the Canadian Institute of Peace, Justice and Security on crime audits examining perceptions of crime within the community. In the Eyewitness Lab at UTEP Lisa has examined the effects of facial composite production on witness memory and the effects of repeated viewing on an individuals memory for a culprits face.  While Lisa is continuing with this line of research, she is also pursuing interests in lineup construction, and how various methods of constructing a lineup influence eyewitness identification.  Lisa was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. Other research interests include deception detection and interrogation techniques. [Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format]

Undergraduate Students.

Rosie Aguilar joined the Eyewitness Lab in Fall of 2007.  She is a Psychology major with a minor in Anthropology.  She expects to graduate from UTEP in 2008 and plans to continue her education with graduate school.  When she is not at school or working she likes to spend her free time with family and friends.  She also enjoys cooking, drawing, watching movies, and going fishing.

Dannette De Leon joined the Eyewitness Lab in the fall semester of 2005. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Criminal Justice. Dannette was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. She plans to graduate in 2008 and go on to graduate school in legal psychology in the criminal deviance program at the University of Minnesota. When not engaged in the lab or other academic activities, she enjoys exercising, reading, music, and being with family and friends.

Sarah Cerecerez Dillon joined the Eyewitness Lab in the Spring semester of 2008. She is a Psychology major with a minor is Criminal Justice and a member of Psi Chi. After graduation from UTEP she plans to pursue a PhD in Forensic Psychology. “I truly believe that education is the only way to living a fuller, more meaningful life; it is also the only way anyone can make an impact or a change in the world.” She tries to spend as much time with her husband (US Army), family and friends. Her interests include photo editing, movies, theater, and music.


Anna Munoz joined the Eyewitness Lab in Spring 2007. She is a Psychology major (BSc) with a minor in Biology. Following graduation she hopes to attend graduate school and specialize in Clinical Psychology. She has been a member of Sigma Psi Eta Sorority and the Greek community  at UTEP since 2003. Her interests include watching movies, text messaging, shopping, reading, and spending time with friends.

Brenda Palma joined the eyewitness lab in Spring 2008. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Criminal Justice. She expects to graduate in 2008. She would like to work as probation officer either with the state or federal government. After being in her position, she would like to return to graduate school. In her free time, she likes to travel with friends and spend time with family.  


Sally Rochel joined the Eye Witness Lab in Fall 2007. She is a double major in Psychology and Business. After graduation, Sally plans to attend graduate school and specialize in Youth Clinical Psychology. She enjoys helping others and learning new things everyday. She has been a member of Sigma Psi Eta Sorority since Fall 2005. Her hobbies include dancing, working out, reading, interior design, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Aldo Viramontes joined the lab in fall 2007. He is a junior in Psychology with a minor in mathematics. He plans to graduate in 2009 and attend graduate school in a country other than the United States.  When not working at his full time job at a Chinese food restaurant he enjoys music, and plays bass in a bossa-nova/jazz band.  He loves to travel even though he doesn't do it so often, and is extremely curious about other cultures and their customs.  He loves and enjoys the visual arts very much, specially photography.

Affiliated Researchers.

Hillary Black is a Senior at Bryam Hills High School, Armonk, New York. She is a participant in Bryam Hills’ Authentic Science Research Program, in which Bryam Hills students work on scientific projects of their choosing in collaboration with scientists working in their chosen area. Hillary has chosen to work with Prof. Malpass and the members of the Eyewitness Identification Research Laboratory on the topic of facial composites in eyewitness identification and related theoretical issues, such as the role of schemas in facial memory and memory modification. When not engaged in her academic work, Hillary enjoys music and spending time with friends. She is a captain of the mock trial team. Her work took first place in the Psychology and Behavioral Science category at the 2008 Upstate New York Junior Science and Humanities Symposium. She will enroll in Georgetown Univrsity in fall 2008.


M. Kimberly MacLin (Ph.D. University of Nevada-Reno) is Assistant Professor of Psychology and Law at the University of Northern Iowa (http://www.uni.edu/maclink/). Current teaching interests: Psychology and Law, Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, and Social Psychology. Her general research interests are in the situated nature of social cognition, with emphasis on schema theory and its applications to social interaction and social decision making processes. Her specific research interests currently center on the role of criminality schemas and how they affect eyewitness identification processes. She is co-author of "Experimental Psychology: A Case Approach" with Robert L. Solso. [Curriculum Vitae]

Otto H. MacLin (Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Northern Iowa (http://www.uni.edu/~maclin) with expertise in face recognition and eyewitness identification. While at the University of Nevada - Reno, he studied both the perceptual and cognitive bases of face recognition. Otto completed his Post Doctoral research in the Eyewitness Identification Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at El Paso where he examined applied aspects of face recognition such as the cross-race effect, lineup bias, and lineup presentation. [Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format]

Dawn McQuiston-Surrett (Ph.D. University of Texas at El Paso) is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at Arizona State University. Her research specialization within legal psychology is eyewitness testimony, involving the study of various topics including theoretical aspects of face recall and recognition, perceptions of eyewitness credibility, and the use of various investigative procedures by law enforcement such as facial composite systems and eyewitness lineups.  She is currently studying perceptual expertise as an underlying mechanism of the cross-race effect in facial recall and recognition, perceptions of the reliability of eyewitness evidence in criminal trials, and the utility of various facial composite systems used in the U.S. and U.K.  Her teaching interests and expertise includes statistics for the behavioral sciences, psychology and law, research methods, and social psychology.  She can be reached by e-mail (mcquiston@asu.edu), by phone (602-543-6157), or by mail at Arizona State University West, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, MC 3051, 4701 W. Thunderbird Road, Glendale, AZ  85306.


Geralda Odinot (Ph.D. University of Leiden, the Netherlands) received her M.A in cognitive psychology in 1999 at the University of Leiden. She joined the lab in the fall of 2004. During her research as a Ph.D. student she worked at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement. Her research interests include eyewitness accuracy and confidence, repeated interviewing, social influences in the courtroom and the ‘elasticity’ of evidence. She is currently studying the effect of repeated interviewing with the Cognitive Interview on the memories of witnesses. This research is done in the Eyewitness lab at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, were she works as a research fellow with Amina Memon. She can be reached by e-mail (g.odinot@abdn.ac.uk) and found on the web at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/~r03kah6/eyewitness/


Nadja Schreiber Compo (Ph.D. magna cum laude, Muenster) received her Vordiplom (Psychology) at the University of Trier and her Diplom (Psychology) at the University of Muenster, where she worked with Prof. Wolfgang Bilsky. She worked in the Eyewitness laboratory at UTEP in 1995-1996, and initiated her research collaboration with Dr. James Wood during that visit. Her Master's thesis on Children's testimony began as a part of Jim Wood's project, comparing interviewing techniques in the Kelly Michaels day care abuse case with interviewing techniques in Child Protective Services interviews, in similar cases. Her dissertation examined the impact of the "inviting speculation" interviewing technique, used in different day care abuse cases, on preschoolers later statements. During this work travel grants from the German Academic Exchange Service allowed her to return to UTEP for discussions about her work. She is currently Assistant Professor of Psychology at Florida International University. When not working, Nadja loves to play the piano, listen to classical and jazz music, ride her bike and reflect over a cup of french vanilla coffee in the company of good friends. [Curriculum Vitae in pdf format]

Colin Tredoux (Ph.D. University of Cape Town) is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Cape Town. He has visited the Eyewitness Lab many times, most recently as a Fulbright Scholar from September through December 2001. We are collaborating on a number of projects. His interests are best seen in his current project list:
  • ID : a software system for enhancing eyewitness recall of face images
  • Learning populations of faces – perceptual learning and the cross race effect
  • Facial similarity and the tradeoff between positive identifications and false alarms in identification parades
  • Measurement and methodologies in naturalistic observation of intergroup contact and segregation
  • Simultaneous vs. sequential lineups : fair comparisons

Visit his webpage at http://www.uct.ac.za/depts/psychology/plato


Laura A. Zimmerman (Ph.D. University of Texas at El Paso) received her BA (Honors, Psychology) from San Francisco State University, with a minor in Criminal Justice where she participated in a research project involving the use of laptop computers in police cars. In her Master’s Thesis (at UTEP) she compared two eyewitness interview techniques. One technique focused on guided memory techniques, while the other focused on social dynamics.  While working in the Eyewitness Research Lab she conducted research on simultaneous and sequential lineups and assessed differences in eyewitness identification decisions. She assisted in the development of PC_Eyewitness, a computerized lineup administration program and conducted research comparing computerized lineup administration to traditional methods. Her dissertation research focused on the naturalistic decision making paradigm and understanding police decision making in critical high-stakes, ambiguous situations. Other research interests include police investigative techniques, such as witness interviews, suspect interrogation, lineup administration, and the use of technology in policing. Laura was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. She completed an internship at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Academy. Laura joined Klein Associates (Fairborn Ohio) in Fall of 2006 as a Senior Scientist II, continuing her work on training and expertise. [Curriculum Vitae in .pdf format] [Federal Resume in .pdf format]

Lab Alums

Jessica Belisle joined the eyewitness lab in the Fall semester of 2005 as a senior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology. Jessica was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. She graduated in May of 2006. When she's not in school she enjoys spending time with friends, listening to music and watching movies.


Georgina Castanon joined the lab in Spring 2003 as a Biology major and Psychology minor in her Junior year. She graduated in December 2004. She enjoys working out, kickboxing, dancing and hanging out with family and friends.

Luis Castanon Jr. graduated in 2001 with a major in biology and a minor in Psychology. He joined the eyewitness lab in June 2000. His post-graduate interests include different possibilities, including graduate study at UTEP, a career in pharmaceutical sales, or his major interest, to attend the College of Optometry at the University of Houston and become a Doctor of Optometry. During time off from his studies Luis volunteers at retirement homes performing free cleaning, repairs, and adjustments of eyeglasses. He enjoys taking road trips with friends and watching sports.

Leilany Cuellar  joined the Eyewitness Lab in Spring 2007. She is a Psychology Major with a Minor in Sociology. She plans to graduate in December 2007. She has a broad cultural background – born in Mexico, raised in Europe (Turkey, Germany, Belgium) and speaks English, Spanish, Turkish, German and French. After graduation she plans to return to Europe for further cultural experience before returning to the US for graduate study. She loves spending time with children and would love to be able to work with them. When not in school she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and watching movies. She loves traveling and getting to know new cultures, especially their languages.

Joni Eastman joined the lab in the fall semester of 2002. She was a Criminal Justice and Psychology double major. After graduation she pursued a graduate degree in Sociology and received a M.A. Degree in 2006. She joined the Criminal Justice faculty in 2006 and taught a number of courses in 2006 and 2007. She was killed in her home during a domestic dispute, July 1, 2007

Kim E. Gaitens (M.A., 2003) received her BA (Honors, Psychology) from the University of Regina (Saskatchewan, Canada) in 2001. During her undergraduate work with Dr. Jeffrey Pfeifer Kim traveled to Perth Australia as a research assistant to complete a crime analysis in Perth with the Western Australia Police Service. Her honors thesis examined the effects on identification accuracy of allowing eyewitnesses to rotate computer generated photospread faces through 360 degrees. She has also been involved in research with police training procedures on domestic violence. Her MA thesis was on the effects of arousal on eyewitness identification by victims and observers.

Gonzalo Garcia graduated in 2000 with a double major in Criminal Justice and Political Science. He is a U.S. Navy veteran, stationed in San Diego for two years. He enrolled at UTEP in 1995, and joined the Eyewitness Lab in 1999. After graduating he continues to work in the lab, along with studying for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), and working as a substitute teacher for the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD). On his off time Gonzalo likes to lift weights, and between the months of November through March he coaches youth wrestling in his old high school.

Davina Heredia joined the Eyewitness Lab in Fall 2007 as a Junior Psychology major, Sociology minor. She is scheduled to graduate in 2009 and wants to attend graduate school, she hopes to one day be a family and youth counselor. When she is not busy with school, her job, or working in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, baking, dancing and volunteering.

Vivian Herrera graduated in 2002 as a McNair Scholar majoring in psychology and minoring in computer information systems. She was a member of the Eyewitness Research lab since August, 1999. Aside from conducting research, she also worked as an Interpreter for State Farm Insurance. In April 2000 at WPA she presented her first research project, which examined the cross-race effect using racially ambiguous faces. She is a member of UTEP's Psi Chi (Psychology National Honors Society) chapter, Golden Key National Honors Society, and Mortarboard. She is attending graduate school to pursue a career in counseling psychology.

Serena Holguin graduated in spring 2002. She was a Psychology major, and a member of the Eyewitness Research Lab. In April 2000 she gave her first conference presentation at WPA in Portland. Her study was on racial classification of ambiguous race faces. Serena also works as an undergraduate assistant in health psychology. She is attending graduate school at California State University at Northridge.

Mydalia Janquez joined the lab in the fall semester of 2003.  She is pursuing two majors, in Psychology and in English Literature.  She expects to receive the BA in Psychology at the end of fall semester 2003 her second BA in English in summer of 2004.  She plans to pursue graduate work towards her Ph. D. in Psychology.  Her life dream is to help battered women and their children.  Her hobbies include reading, traveling with her husband & son, and tending to her two beautiful Shih Tzu's Panda & Buttercup

Bastiaan Kroeger joined the eyewitness lab as a visiting scholar from the Netherlands in 2001. He was in his fifth and last year as a cognitive psychology student at the University of Amsterdam, and was interested in face- and voice recognition. Bastiaan financed his stay in El Paso selling tickets for a lottery by telephone. This job not only drew his attention to earwitness testimonies (and the inaccuracy of buyers recognizing his voice) it also taught him how to use chance-expectations outside the lab. Besides making people millionaires Bastiaan can be found in a theatre watching movies, listening to bands, travelling and failing his driver's license test. That was rectified by passing the Texas test. During his residency at UTEP he could be found careening around the US in his Chevrolet as a civilized tourist !

Jessica Leyva joined the lab in the fall of 2004. She is a Psychology major and Criminal Justice minor and plans to graduate in the Spring of 2006. She is a member of the Career Opportunities in Research Program here at UTEP and plans to pursue graduate work in Psychology after receiving her BA. Her hobbies include spending time with her family and friends and traveling as much as possible.

Alma Luna joined the lab in the spring semester of 2003. She is a Psychology major and philosophy minor, and is exploring her interests in the field. She would like to pursue graduate work towards a Ph.D. in psychology, perhaps with a specialization in counseling. She is a vegan and a member of the Vegetarian Society of El Paso. She contributes volunteer work at an orphanage in Cd. Juarez, and for the El Paso Rehabilitation Center.

Brenda Marrufo joined the Eyewitness Lab in the fall semster of 2006, and graduated in December 2006 with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. She continues with her educational goals by attending graduate school, specializing in Criminal Justice. While not on campus, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, as well as dancing and watching movies. And when time permits - catching up on those elusive ZZZs.

Nicole Pruss graduated with a BA in Psychology from Trinity University where she studied external aids and memory. Her research interests include eyewitness memory, interviewing techniques, jury decision making, and discrimination. Outside of school she enjoys photography, music and travel. 

Maria Quintero joined the lab in fall semester of 2001. She is a Psychology major with a minor in Mathematics. This is her first semester as a senior and as a member of the Eyewitness Research Lab. She plans to pursue graduate work in Psychology and wants to focus her studies on child abuse. In her spare time she is either babysitting or finding something to do around the house.

Sarah Ramirez joined the eyewitness lab in the fall semester of 2005 as a senior double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Sarah was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. She graduated in spring 2006. When not in school, she plays softball for UTEP and enjoys just resting at home and watching movies.

Stephanie Reyna joined the Eyewitness Lab in spring 2007 as a sophomore Psychology major. She plans to graduate in 2009, and attend Graduate school but has not decided exactly which direction to pursue in psychology. When she is not working at her part-time job, paticipating in academic activities, and working in the lab, she enjoys music, volunteering, arts and crafts, and spending time with her family and friends.

Mary Rigoni received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Law Enforcement & Justice Administration (magna cum laude) from Western Illinois University in December of 2003.  She spent a semester interning as a law clerk for the State’s Attorneys in the Felony Criminal Courts of Chicago. Marys research interests include investigative techniques, specifically, eyewitness decision making and forensic interviewing. Personal interests include music and literature.

Raquel Salinas graduated in 2001 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. She is a member of Psi Chi and joined the Eyewitness Research Lab in May 2000. In May 2001 Raquel presented her first research project at WPA that examines generalizability issues related to simultaneous vs. sequential lineup presentation. She is also involved in a project examining the conditions under which jurors are receptive to eyewitness testimony given evidence of confidence inflation. While at UTEP she held the position of Secretary of the Criminal Justice Student Society (CJSS), and managed the Eyes and Ears project, a collaborative community-watch program sponsored by the CJSS, the Criminal Justice Program and the UTEP Police Department. In her spare time she takes her German Shepherd out for walks and collects coins.

Lisa Saviñón, (M.Ed, 2007) was a psychology major who joined the lab in the fall of 2002. She received her BA in Psychology in December 2004 (UTEP) and her Master of Education in School Counseling in 2007 (Dallas Baptist University). She works as a school counselor in Dallas, Texas and is pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at Fielding Graduate University.  Lisa’s areas of interest are: Neurodevelopmental Disorders, family involvement in the treatment process of children with disabilities, Early Childhood Intervention community awareness, and Selective Mutism.  She spends her free time with her husband and children and also likes to read.  Lisa is the mother of a child with disabilities, and she utilizes her education and experience as a mother by volunteering her time to assist other families coping with disability.  You can read more about Lisa and contact her at her web site: http://lisasavinon.teach-nology.com/index.html.

Tena Bonnell Spitsberg is a Psychology major with a minor in Philosophy. She joined the lab in January of 2002. She is to be inducted into the Golden Key National Honors Society in February of 2002. Following graduation she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in psychology. Fall finds Tena following football, from the local high schools and the UTEP Miners (no matter how good or bad their record may be) to her favorite Green Bay Packers. She also enjoys the musical pursuits of singing for civic organizations and directing youth and adult choirs.

Tamara Taylor joined the lab Spring 2003. Tamara plans on graduating in December of 2004. After graduation she plans on attending graduate school to recieve a masters or PhD in counseling. She enjoys working out and playing soccer.

Vanessa Uribe joined the eyewitness lab in the fall semester of 2005 as a junior Psychology major, minoring in Criminal Justice, and expects to graduate in December of 2006. Vanessa was a member of the team that worked on the data analysis for the Illinois Pilot Program on Sequential Double-Blind Identification Procedures. She plans to follow up with graduate study in Psychology. She enjoys running, reading, movies, music, and spending time with family and friends .

Stephanie Verlander joined the lab in fall of 2002 with a double major in Criminal Justice and English and American Literature. She graduated in May 2003. After graduation she planed to teach high school literature (when she is not running her janitorial business), and start graduate school to pursue a masters in literature. She hopes one day to go to law school and become a defense attorney. In her spare time she reads and paints.

Fernando Villanueva Aguirre joined the Eyewitness Lab in the fall semester of 2006. He is a Senior Psychology major with a Minor in Film. He plans to graduate in 2007 and attend Graduate School in Psychology. To serve in the Peace Corps is another ambition. Some of his interests include traveling, watching movies, listening to music, acting, mountain biking, martial arts and reading.

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