Exposure duration: effects on eyewitness accuracy and confidence

A. Memon, Lorraine Hope, Ray Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study examined the relationship between the length of exposure to a face in an eyewitness setting and identification accuracy and confidence. A sample of 164 young (ages 17–25) and older (ages 59–81) adults viewed a simulated crime in which they saw the culprit's face for a short (12 s) or long (45 s) duration. They were then tested with a target absent (a line-up not containing the culprit) or target present line-up. Identification accuracy rates for both young and older participants were significantly higher under the long exposure condition. In the short exposure condition, witnesses who had made a correct identification of the target were more confident than incorrect witnesses. In the long exposure condition the confidence ratings of accurate and inaccurate witnesses did not differ. Discussion focuses on the extent to which extended exposure may inflate confidence judgments and variables that may moderate the relationship between exposure duration and face recognition accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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