Witness confidence and accuracy: Is a positive relationship maintained for recall under interview conditions?
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A large positive correlation between eyewitness recall confidence and accuracy (C-A) is found in research when item difficulty is varied to include easy questions. However, these results are based on questionnaire responses. In real interviews, the social nature of the interview may influence C-A relationships, and it is the interviewer's perception of the accuracy of a witness that counts. This study was conducted to investigate the influence of these factors for recall of a video. Three conditions were used; the same questions were used in each. Participants in condition 1 (self-rate questionnaire condition, n = 20) were given a questionnaire that required them to answer questions and rate confidence on a scale. Pairs of participants in condition 2 (self-rate interview condition, n = 40) were given the role of eyewitness or interviewer. Eyewitnesses were asked questions by an interviewer and responded orally with answers and confidence judgements on a Likert scale. Participants in condition three (interviewer-rate interview condition, n = 40) were tested in the same way as condition two but provided confidence judgements in their own words. Interviewers independently rated each confidence judgement on the Likert scale. The experiment showed high C-A relationships, particularly for 'absolutely sure' responses. The main effect of the social interview condition was to increase confidence in correct answers but not in incorrect answers. However, the advantage of this effect was tempered by the fact that, although observers can differentiate between confident and less confident answers, less extreme confidence judgements were ascribed.
Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling Volume 6, Issue 1, pages 11–23, January 2009, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jip.89