While there is a growing body of research examining the relatively "cold," cognitive decision-making components of showups, few attempts have been made to capture the "hot" affective components of showups that are thought to exacerbate the suggestiveness of the procedure. In 3 simulated-field experiments, we partnered with law enforcement to examine how participants who were led to believe they were involved in an actual criminal investigation (Field-simulation condition) differed from participants who knew they were not part of an actual investigation (Lab-simulation condition). We staged crimes for both conditions, but in the field-simulation condition, law enforcement personnel carried out mock investigations that culminated with a live showup. In Experiment 1 (N = 321), which did not include a culprit-present condition, the field-simulation condition increased innocent suspect identifications. The standard showup admonition decreased innocent suspect identifications, but only for dissimilar innocent suspects. Experiment 2 (N = 196) added a culprit-present condition and found that the field-simulation condition increased innocent suspect and culprit identifications to a similar extent. Experiment 3 (N = 367) replicated the findings of Experiment 2 and examined the impact of admonishing eyewitnesses that if they did not believe the suspect was the culprit, they might have additional opportunities to make an identification. Confidence-accuracy calibration analyses revealed that confidence discriminated accurate from inaccurate identifications in the field, but not in the lab; however, eyewitnesses who made identifications in the field were overconfident and across all levels of confidence were less likely to be correct than eyewitnesses who made identifications in the lab.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Admonition, Ecological, Eyewitness-identification, Showup, Validity
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1037/law0000115
Journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law
Eisen, M.L. (Mitchell L.), Smith, A, Olaguez, A.P. (Alma P.), & Skerritt-Perta, A.S. (Amaia S.). (2017). An examination of showups conducted by law enforcement using a field-simulation paradigm. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 23(1), 1–22. doi:10.1037/law0000115