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J Exp Psychol Appl. 2002 Mar;8(1):44-56.

The confidence-accuracy relationship in eyewitness identification: the effects of reflection and disconfirmation on correlation and calibration.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia.


Participants viewed a simulated crime and attempted an identification from an 8-person target-present or target-absent lineup. The authors examined identification confidence-accuracy relations, contrasting a control condition (n = 310) with 2 manipulations designed to improve confidence scaling. Before indicating confidence, participants reflected on encoding and identification test conditions (n = 316) or suggested hypotheses about why their identification decision might have been wrong (n = 318). Confidence-accuracy correlations were weak and did not differ across conditions. However, for positive identifications, confidence and accuracy were well calibrated in the experimental conditions, although not in the control condition; similar patterns were observed for lineup rejections. Explanations for calibration differences in terms of discrimination difficulty, (mis)match between encoding and test stimuli, and the availability of confidence cues were advanced.

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