Cueing Confidence in Eyewitness Identifications: Influence of Biased Lineup Instructions and Pre-Identification Memory Feedback Under Varying Lineup Conditions

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Students watched a theft video, attempted an identification from a thief-present or thief-absent lineup under unbiased or biased instructions, and rated identification confidence. In Experiment 1, the participants received (bogus) positive, negative, or no pre-identification feedback about a recall test. Biased instructions and positive feedback increased confidence and ratings of eyewitnessing conditions. In Experiment 2, biased instructions increased confidence unless the thief was absent and lineup members were similar, where they decreased confidence. According to the cue-belief model, biased instructions send a positive accuracy cue regarding the most familiar-looking lineup member. If none stands out, instructions conflict with an inclination to reject the lineup. Feedback may create a belief about memory quality that is a cue regarding likely recognition accuracy.

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