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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Margaret Bull Kovera
  • (212) 484-1112
Award Date:01/19/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 199,619
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 75,045
  • FY 2021=$75,045
Start Date:06/01/2021
End Date:05/31/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.075
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Social Influence in Eyewitness Identification Procedures: Do Blind Administrator Behaviors Magnify the Effects of Suspect Bias?
Federal Award ID Number:2043334
DUNS ID:620128863
Parent DUNS ID:073268849
Program:Law & Science
Program Officer:
  • Reggie Sheehan
  • (703) 292-5389

Awardee Location

Street:524 West 59th Street
City:New York
County:New York
Awardee Cong. District:10

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
County:New York
Cong. District:10

Abstract at Time of Award

DNA exonerations of innocent individuals have consistently implicated eyewitness misidentification as a leading cause of wrongful conviction. A key factor producing these eyewitness misidentifications is social influence, or the process by which interactions with a police investigator affect eyewitnesses’ identification decisions. In an attempt to reduce social influences in eyewitness identification, researchers have recommended the implementation of double-blind lineup procedures in which the lineup administrator does not know which lineup member is under suspicion. However, even double-blind lineup administrators sometimes engage in behaviors that could influence eyewitness decision-making. This project will test whether double-blind lineups are sufficient to prevent social influence from increasing mistaken eyewitness identifications. The findings could support the development of more effective policy reforms by demonstrating a need to move toward fully computerized administration of eyewitness identification procedures, a practice that has yet to be adopted by law enforcement agencies in the United States. This project consists of a series of experiments that will examine social-influence processes in double-blind lineups. First, these experiments will identify social-influence behaviors emitted by double-blind administrators and assess their effects on eyewitness decision-making. Second, the experiments will test whether administrator influence in double-blind lineups can increase the risk of eyewitness misidentification of innocent suspects by exacerbating the effects of lineup factors that bias witnesses towards identifying the suspect (e.g., unfair lineups, repeated exposure to the suspect). Third, the experiments will examine how social-influence effects carry over across multiple identification procedures and assess whether some eyewitnesses are more vulnerable to social influence effects than others. Fourth, the experiments will test competing psychological theories regarding whether social influence has stronger effects on identifications of guilty or innocent suspects. Finally, the experiments will asses the effects of administrator influence on the diagnostic value of eyewitness confidence, which is relied upon by fact-finders (e.g., judges and jurors) to assess the reliability of eyewitness identification evidence. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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