Face-Off: A New Identification Procedure for Child Eyewitnesses

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In 2 experiments, we introduce a new “face-off” procedure for child eyewitness identifications. The new procedure, which is premised on reducing the stimulus set size, was compared with the showup and simultaneous procedures in Experiment 1 and with modified versions of the simultaneous and elimination procedures in Experiment 2. Several benefits of the face-off procedure were observed: it was significantly more diagnostic than the showup procedure; it led to significantly more correct rejections of target-absent lineups than the simultaneous procedures in both experiments, and it led to greater information gain than the modified elimination and simultaneous procedures. The face-off procedure led to consistently more conservative responding than the simultaneous procedures in both experiments. Given the commonly cited concern that children are too lenient in their decision criteria for identification tasks, the face-off procedure may offer a concrete technique to reduce children’s high choosing rates.

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