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Law Hum Behav. 1998 Oct;22(5):549-70.

Identification accuracy of children versus adults: a meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


Identification accuracy of children and adults was examined in a meta-analysis. Preschoolers (M = 4 years) were less likely than adults to make correct identifications. Children over the age of 5 did not differ significantly from adults with regard to correct identification rate. Children of all ages examined were less likely than adults to correctly reject a target-absent lineup. Even adolescents (M = 12-13 years) did not reach an adult rate of correct rejection. Compared to simultaneous lineup presentation, sequential lineups increased the child-adult gap for correct rejections. Providing child witnesses with identification practice or training did not increase their correct rejection rates. Suggestions for children's inability to correctly reject target-absent lineups are discussed. Future directions for identification research are presented.

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