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Title: Selecting fillers on emotional appearance improves lineup identification accuracy
Authors: Flowe, Heather D.
Klatt, Thimna
Colloff, Melissa T.
First Published: Dec-2014
Publisher: Springer Verlag for American Psychological Association
Citation: Law and Human Behavior, Vol 38(6), Dec 2014, 509-519.
Abstract: Mock witnesses sometimes report using criminal stereotypes to identify a face from a lineup, a tendency known as criminal face bias. Faces are perceived as criminal-looking if they appear angry. We tested whether matching the emotional appearance of the fillers to an angry suspect can reduce criminal face bias. In Study 1, mock witnesses (n = 226) viewed lineups in which the suspect had an angry, happy, or neutral expression, and we varied whether the fillers matched the expression. An additional group of participants (n = 59) rated the faces on criminal and emotional appearance. As predicted, mock witnesses tended to identify suspects who appeared angrier and more criminal-looking than the fillers. This tendency was reduced when the lineup fillers matched the emotional appearance of the suspect. Study 2 extended the results, testing whether the emotional appearance of the suspect and fillers affects recognition memory. Participants (n = 1,983) studied faces and took a lineup test in which the emotional appearance of the target and fillers was varied between subjects. Discrimination accuracy was enhanced when the fillers matched an angry target's emotional appearance. We conclude that lineup member emotional appearance plays a critical role in the psychology of lineup identification. The fillers should match an angry suspect's emotional appearance to improve lineup identification accuracy.
DOI Link: 10.1037/lhb0000101
ISSN: 0147-7307
eISSN: 1573-661X
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record. Copyright 2014 American Psychological Association. Journal of record at
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, School of Psychology

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