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Volume 6 Issue 1

Mugshot group size affects eyewitness mugshot selections

Thompson, W. B., Zamojski, E., & Colangelo, A.

When eyewitnesses examine a set of mugshots, the photos can be presented either individually or in groups. The present experiment investigated whether the selection of mugshots is influenced by group size. Participants watched a video of a mock theft, then viewed 180 mugshots either 3, 6, or 12 photos at a time. Selection of the target's mugshot was not significantly affected by mugshot group size, but participants who viewed three mugshots at a time selected more fillers. In addition, group size had only a small effect on the amount of time taken to inspect mugshots, and participants exhibited a strong tendency to select no more than one mugshot from any single group. The practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

The effects of counterfactual thinking on reactions to victimization

Miller, M. K., Adya, M., Chamberlain, J., & Jehle, A.

Counterfactual thinking (CFT), which involves envisioning alternate outcomes to a past event, has been shown to affect people's perceptions of, and attributions regarding, the causes of that event. Understanding the elements of a crime that may trigger CFT will assist with further elucidating when and why victims report crimes, allowing law enforcement and policymakers to better calibrate the potential for underreporting and use reporting data effectively when shaping crime policies. In an experiment using vignettes, we manipulated characteristics associated with an imagined crime event in order to investigate the effect of those characteristics on crime reporting. A characteristic which past research has shown to trigger CFT (typicality of routine) and another that has been shown to trigger reporting (severity of monetary loss) were manipulated in the vignette. Reactions to victimization (e.g., anger) and reporting behavior were examined. College students read a stimuli paragraph and imagined they had their purse/wallet taken as they walked home. The study manipulated the amount of money stolen (i.e., $5, $40, $75) and typicality of routine (i.e., whether the typical route or atypical route home was taken). Results demonstrated that increased severity and taking an atypical route home both increased the likelihood of reporting a crime to police. In addition, typicality of routine and severity of monetary loss interact to affect victims' anger response to the crime. Finally, in an indication that typicality of routine likely increased CFT, as would be expected based on the literature, participants who read vignettes involving an unusual route being taken were more likely to believe that luck played a role and that they could have prevented the incident. No gender differences were found.

Personality, gender, and self-control theory revisited: Results from a sample of institutionalized juvenile delinquents

DeLisi, M., Beaver, K. M., Vaughn, M. G., Trulson, C. R., Kosloski, A. E., Drury, A. J., & Wright, J. P.

Two empirically unresolved areas of study of Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) self-control theory are personality and gender. The theory states that personality is unrelated to self-control and crime, and prior studies have found that self-control operates differently for males and females. Using data from confined delinquents in the California Youth Authority (n = 791) and measures derived from the Weinberger Adjustment Inventory which is a superordinate measure of personality, the current study explored the linkages between self-control and institutional misconduct. MANOVA and negative binomial regression models showed that wards with lower self-control/self-restraint had greater levels of diverse institutional misconduct. However, self-control was predictive of misconduct in only three of ten multivariate models and only among males. Self-control was unrelated to institutional misconduct among females. Implications for theory and research on the general theory are provided.

Eyewitness memory and misinformation: Are remember/know judgments more reliable than subjective confidence?

Holmes, A. E., & Weaver, C. A.

We investigated the phenomenological experience of eyewitness identification following misinformation by assessing memory for specific item information (product brands). Participants selected various brands of products to put in a fictitious "care package" to be sent to soldiers deployed overseas. After this encoding episode, participants were presented post-event information. In this post-event narrative, information seen at encoding was either correctly referenced, contradicted, or additively suggested. Six-AFC recognition tasks were completed either 10 minutes or 1 week later. In addition, we examined the relationship between RK judgments and subjective confidence by assessing RK judgments independently of (Experiment 1) and along with (Experiment 2) confidence ratings for the same response. Over time, accuracy decreased by half, false alarms for misinformation doubled, and "remember" judgments for additive misinformation tripled. RK judgments and confidence were positively correlated across all conditions, and did not provide unique discriminating information. Implications for eyewitness identification in civil as well as criminal testimony are discussed.