Weapon Focus Effect and Eyewitness Identification: Effects of Training

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2014


When there is a weapon present during a crime, the later ability of eyewitnesses to make an accurate lineup decision can be negatively affected, known as the Weapon Focus Effect (WFE). The purpose of this study was to examine whether training individuals with forensically relevant information (e.g., concerning weapons and how to deal with them) would influence eyewitness identification. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions involving hypothetical training as security personnel: (a) basic training with no weapon information, or (b) basic training with weapon information. The primary hypothesis was that, whereas a WFE would be found in those receiving basic training, the WFE pattern would change for those receiving information about weapons and the potential distraction a weapon could cause during a crime.


Curt Carlson

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences