Document Type

Poster Presentation


An important component of a police investigation is the eyewitness identification, where police present a lineup to a witness and ask him or her to choose the culprit if he or she is in fact present in the lineup. This is not such a straightforward task for the witness. In fact, the police investigator administering the lineup might unduly influence the witness' decision. If the witness feels encouraged to pick someone from the lineup, the likelihood that an innocent suspect will enter the criminal justice system is greatly increased. A potential area of investigator influence (bias) might be introduced when police ask witnesses if they think they would be able to pick the culprit out of a lineup. In metacognitive terms, this is known as a feeling of knowing (FOK) judgment. Perfect and Hollins (1999) examined FOK and eyewitness accuracy. Their results indicated that judgments made by eyewitnesses were slightly above chance levels, however they did not evaluate the impact of the FOK on the likelihood of choosing an innocent suspect. The current study examines: 1) FOK accuracy, 2) the influence of providing an FOK and the number of false identifications, 3) whether the amount of information provided in the witnesses verbal description of the culprit influences the FOK judgment. We hypothesize that 1) the FOK / accuracy relationship is above chance, 2) participants who are asked to provide FOK judgments will be inclined to make an identification choice more often than those not asked to provide a FOK judgment, and 3) FOK judgments will be higher (but not necessarily more accurate) when participants are required to provide lengthy verbal descriptions of the culprit.

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Journal Title

Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference





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©2003 by the University of Northern Iowa



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University of Northern Iowa


Cedar Falls, IA