Target-absent eyewitness identification line-ups: why do children like to choose

Julie Dunlevy, Julie Cherryman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Children generally fail to reject target-absent line-ups correctly as not containing the “perpetrator”. This experiment aimed to investigate this issue of higher rate of choosing behaviour in children by offering an alternative selection choice. One hundred and forty-eight children aged six to seven years actively participated in live craft events conducted by an adult male who later became the target to be identified. Supporting the hypotheses, the use of the alternative procedure was found to be significantly associated with the children's ability to reject the line-up correctly when the target was absent. Importantly, this was not accompanied by reduced performance in target-present conditions. Also supporting the hypothesis, children made correct decisions faster than incorrect decisions. The implications of these findings to applied forensic practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-293
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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