Forensic psychology
Forensic psychology

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Forensic psychology

4.4 What were the problems with the line-ups?

Figure 15

Using the knowledge you have gained about psychology, face recognition and eyewitness identification, do you think the ID parades conducted by DS Sund were an effective means of obtaining accurate evidence?

Unlike the methods used by DI Bullet to conduct his identification parades, psychological research would suggest that DS Sund used a procedure far less likely to lead to a misidentification and far more likely to have obtained reliable evidence. Nonetheless, no procedure is perfect, so think carefully about the procedures used by DS Sund and see if you can identify any problems.

Below are the same list of hints of things to look for:

  • Instructions – did the instructions used involve a leading question, and did they suggest to the witness that the perpetrator was definitely in the parade?

  • Procedure – what procedure was used? Was it a sequential or simultaneous presentation, and how might this have impacted the witness’s decision?

  • Structure – was the parade a fair one, or might the suspect have stood out for some reason?

  • Verbal overshadowing – ID parades are supposed to involve the witness comparing their memory of the perpetrator to the faces in the parade. Was that the case here, or might they have been relying on information (such as a verbal description, facial composite or information from the detective) from after the crime took place?

  • Unconscious transference – if the witness has seen the suspect somewhere other than when committing the crime, it is possible that they are transferring that memory into their memory of who committed the crime. Is it possible that this is happening here?

Activity 2 Problems with line-ups

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Now, see if you can work out how DS Sund tried to avoid these problems. Note down your ideas.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
FP_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371