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Law Hum Behav. 2009 Apr;33(2):175-82. doi: 10.1007/s10979-008-9126-z. Epub 2008 Jan 31.

Mug shot exposure effects: does size matter?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Southeastern Louisiana University, SLU 10665, 500 Western Avenue, Hammond, LA, 70402, USA.


This research tested whether mug book size moderates mug shot exposure effects. Witnesses to a simulated theft searched either a small, a large, or no mug book, followed by a perpetrator-absent lineup containing a critical foil from the mug book. Contrary to predictions of a transference effect, critical foil lineup identifications did not differ across conditions. To test for a commitment effect, only participants who selected the critical foil in the mug book were considered; there was evidence of a commitment effect in the large mug book condition. Finally, there were more lineup-correct rejections in the large mug book condition; this was explained in terms of the criterion for making mug book choices carrying over to lineup choices.

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