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

Criminal Justice







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Current Research:

Eyewitness identification.

  • Scientific evaluation of lineup fairness. For nearly three decades, mock witness identifications have been used to provide a quantitative measure of the fairness of lineups. Our current work extends our knowledge of techniques for construction and evaluation of lineups and photospreads and applications with a range of lineup presentation methods.
  • Presentation mode and witness task in eyewitness identification. Sequential presentation is sometimes claimed to be superior to simultaneous presentation. However, many variations in presentation mode and task structure are possible for both simultaneous and sequential lineups that have hardly been studied. Current work in the laboratory examines these variations.
  • Instructions / admonitions given to witnesses are known to be important in reducing false identifications, however the relative strengths of various instructions are not know, nor are their interactions. Present work in the lab studies these questions.

Perception and recognition of faces.

  • Reliability of face recognition. In a courtroom situation, eyewitnesses often claim that they are particularly good at recognizing faces, with the intention of assuring the jurors that the identification they make is a reliable one. Our research investigates whether face recognition is indeed a trait that is consistent over time and recognition events, and whether individuals can make accurate judgments about their own personal level of recognition ability.
  • Worldwide face collection. A consortium of researchers on face recognition and eyewitness identification is working towards establishing a large database of faces that represent diverse geographical and cultural areas. Our laboratory is one of the founding members of the consortium.
  • Cross-Race Face Recognition. Research has reliably demonstrated a deficit in the recognition of other-race faces, known as the "cross-race effect". Our laboratory is engaged in a number of studies investigating factors that may influence the cross-race effect, and which may help us to understand the cognitive basis of this interesting phenomenon. Our work on ambiguous race faces is included in this line of research.

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