Comparison of Forensic Evidence and Eyewitness Testimony Accuracy and Reliability


  • Erik Lindstrom Texas A&M University



Abstract: In this experiment, the accuracy of forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony is investigated through a group of participants to generalize how the public feels about forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony to explore the reasoning and continued use of eyewitness testimony which may be ultimately less accurate than forensic evidence. Given the first survey, the participants answer if they find forensic evidence or eyewitness testimony more accurate or reliable, which forensic method they find most accurate out five choices, and then asked to describe what they saw in a video. Given the second and last survey, participants are asked to identify a suspect based on the original video. Then depending on the response, participants were asked to answer if they would be willing to change their mind if forensic evidence was found that contradicts their choice. It was found that 95.5% of participants found forensic evidence more accurate, the majority found DNA analysis to be the most accurate method, and 85% of those that picked a suspect from the line up would consider that their memory was flawed or a mistake had been made if DNA analysis contradicted their choice. Forensic evidence was found to be the most accurate and the majority of participants were willing to go back on their eyewitness testimony given forensic evidence that provides a differing solution, meaning that the accuracy of eyewitness testimony is not perceived as being above forensic evidence and the use of eyewitness testimony in court and elsewhere should be cautiously approached.



Author Biography

Erik Lindstrom, Texas A&M University

FIVS 205, Freshman in Forensic Science, Plan to study general forensics and possibly go into ballistics.