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J Exp Psychol Appl. 2008 Jun;14(2):118-28. doi: 10.1037/1076-898X.14.2.118.

Lineup composition, suspect position, and the sequential lineup advantage.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


N. M. Steblay, J. Dysart, S. Fulero, and R. C. L. Lindsay (2001) argued that sequential lineups reduce the likelihood of mistaken eyewitness identification. Experiment 1 replicated the design of R. C. L. Lindsay and G. L. Wells (1985), the first study to show the sequential lineup advantage. However, the innocent suspect was chosen at a lower rate in the simultaneous lineup, and no sequential lineup advantage was found. This led the authors to hypothesize that protection from a sequential lineup might emerge only when an innocent suspect stands out from the other lineup members. In Experiment 2, participants viewed a simultaneous or sequential lineup with either the guilty suspect or 1 of 3 innocent suspects. Lineup fairness was varied to influence the degree to which a suspect stood out. A sequential lineup advantage was found only for the unfair lineups. Additional analyses of suspect position in the sequential lineups showed an increase in the diagnosticity of suspect identifications as the suspect was placed later in the sequential lineup. These results suggest that the sequential lineup advantage is dependent on lineup composition and suspect position.

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