A Re-Evaluation of Pre- Versus Post-Identification Confidence Using Confidence-Accuracy Calibration

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Fall 2015


Researchers have used point-biserial correlation to show that eyewitness confidence assessed prior to a lineup does not predict lineup identification accuracy. However, recent research has shown the benefits of using calibration analyses to determine the relationship between eyewitness confidence and accuracy (CA). We applied this method to explore the CA relationship both for pre- and post-lineup confidence using a multiple-block face recognition paradigm. There were three conditions, which differed only in the timing of confidence assessment: (a) immediately after the encoding phase, (b) immediately after the lineup decision, or (c) both immediately after encoding and immediately after the lineup decision. We found that pre-lineup confidence assessment harmed calibration and has the potential to harm discriminability as well (based on ROC analysis). This implies that police might want to be careful what questions they ask of eyewitnesses after a crime, as there is the potential to weaken the CA relationship and even harm subsequent identification accuracy. Specifically, law enforcement should avoid the formal use of pre-lineup confidence assessments, instead focusing only on confidence ratings provided immediately post-lineup.


Curt Carlson

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences