Biases Created by Color and Size of Suspect Pool within Photo Lineups


  • William Patterson


Decisions of legal precedent often rely on the statements of eyewitnesses which inherently are subject to any and all personal perceptions of that individual. This study aimed to illustrate the possibility of discrepancies that might arise from eyewitness statements and the natural occurrence of selective attention. Selective attention is the understanding that naturally humans can only process a few pieces of information at once, and disregard the rest. The purpose of this study was to determine if seemingly minute characteristics, such as the color of clothing and number of suspects comprising a lineup, cause bias when identifying suspects of crime. The procedures carried out identify whether aspects of a lineup cause particular individuals to stand out. In this study, color and the amount of photos in a lineup were considered. Both factors were individually tested and the data found supported a difference in the amount of correct suspect identification compared to the control. With the data obtained through experimental trials, it was possible to determine that there is a likely potential bias induced by colors present and size of the lineup in suspect identification.