Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Recent studies have shown that eyewitness confidence is positively associated with high identification (ID) accuracy, but some eyewitness researchers have expressed concerns regarding the reliability of this confidence-accuracy relationship in applied settings (e.g., are there circumstances or moderator variables that make this relationship less reliable?). For the present study, we considered two types of moderator variables: material difficulty (i.e., the difficulty level associated with different sets of eyewitness stimuli) and individual difference factors such as face recognition ability. Experiment 1 examined whether these moderator variables significantly impair the confidence-accuracy relationship and Experiment 2 examined whether these same moderator variables equally affect the effectiveness of simultaneous and sequential lineup procedures. For Experiment 1, high confidence was generally associated with high suspect-ID accuracy; however, a few sets of eyewitness stimuli with difficult situational factors (e.g., poor viewing angle, short exposure duration, etc.) did lower suspect-ID accuracy below 90%, even for high-confidence identifications. Individual differences in face recognition ability affected calibration but not suspect-ID accuracy of high-confidence identifications. For Experiment 2, first-yes rule sequential lineups tended to produce significantly lower lineup discriminability compared to simultaneous lineups. Furthermore, under less optimal conditions, high-confidence IDs from first-yes-rule sequential lineups appeared to be less reliable compared to simultaneous lineups. Together, these findings suggest that both material difficulty and individual difference factors (e.g., face recognition ability) can significantly influence eyewitness identification performance.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Henry L. Roediger, III

Committee Members

David A. Balota

Included in

Psychology Commons