Disinformation effect in human identification



The article presents the results of an experimental study of psychological errors which occur when a person performing identification has been told false identification features before the actual procedure. We have revealed the mechanisms of disinformation effect: the generalization of working memory representations and involuntary mental information adding. Previous studies of the phenomenon of misinformation focused on the study of unintentional memorization, in the process of which the mechanism of an external implanted facility (misinformation) was introduced. In the experiments of other scientists, it was not possible to preset memorizing the elements of the event or the appearance of the subjects. It is shown that a preliminary instruction to memorize the features of an object does not reduce the disinformation effect. At the same time, a prior memorizing instruction can block the influence of gender, age and professional attitudes, but it does not block the subjective attitudes of a particular person. It was shown that reproducing facts some time later is not the main cause of identification errors.

General Information

Keywords: external signs of a person, recognition, identification errors, false instructions, working memory, disinformation effect.

Journal rubric: Forensic and Clinical Psychology in Legal Context

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/psylaw.2018080410

For citation: Budyakova T.P. Disinformation effect in human identification [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2018. Vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 99–114. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2018080410. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Avanesyan M.O., Tukhtieva N.Kh. Ustanovka i ee preodolenie: na puti k osoznannosti [Installation and its overcoming: on the path to awareness] Nauchnyi al'manakh [Scientific Almanac], 2015, no. 9, pp. 1396—1400. (In Russ.).
  2. Barabanshchikov V.A. Vospriyatie vyrazhenii litsa [Perception of facial expressions]. Moscow, Institut psikhologii RAN Publ., 2009, 448 p. (In Russ.).
  3. Barabanshchikov V.A. Psikhologicheskie mekhanizmy vospriyatiya vyrazhenii litsa [Psychological mechanisms of perception of facial expressions] Litso cheloveka kak sredstvo obshcheniya [Person's face as a means of communication]. Moscow, Izdatel'stvo «Institut psikhologii RAN» Publ., 2012, pp. 13—21. (In Russ.).
  4. Brusilovsky A.E. Sudebno-psikhologicheskaya ekspertiza. Ee predmet, metodika i predely [Forensic psychological examination. Its subject, method and limits]. Khar'kov, 1929. 107 p. (In Russ.).
  5. Granik G.G., Samsonova A.N. Rol' ustanovki v protsesse vospriyatiya teksta [The role of the installation in the process of perceiving the text] Voprosy psikhologii [Questions of Psychology], 1993, no. 2. pp. 72—79. (In Russ.).
  6. Egorov D.M. Vliyanie ustanovki na izbiratel'nost' vospriyatiya lzhivogo teksta [The influence of the attitude on the selectivity of perception of a false text] Sibirskii psikhologicheskii zhurnal [Siberian Psychological Journal], 2017, no. 64, pp. 76—93. (In Russ.).
  7. Zinin A.M. Sub"ektivnyi portret. Kurs lektsii [A subjective portrait. Lecture course]. Moscow, Shchit-M Publ., 2012. 136 p. (In Russ.).
  8. Imedadze I.V. Interaktsionizm i obshchepsikhologicheskaya teoriya ustanovki [Interactionism and general psychological theory of installation] Psikhologicheskii zhurnal [Psychological Journal], 2012, vol. 33, no. 3, pp. 33—42. (In Russ.).
  9. Isaeva L.M. Sovremennye metody polucheniya informatsii, khranyashcheisya v pamyati ochevidtsev [Modern methods of obtaining information stored in the memory of eyewitnesses] Vestnik Akademii prava i upravleniya [Bulletin of the Academy of Law and Management], 2009, no. 15, pp. 41—47. (In Russ.).
  10. Kobets P.N. Ispol'zovanie psikhologicheskikh metodov aktivizatsii pamyati poterpevshikh, svidetelei i podozrevaemykh v sledstvennoi praktike pravookhranitel'nykh organov Rossiiskoi Federatsii i zarubezhnykh stran [Use of psychological methods of activating the memory of victims, witnesses and suspects in the investigative practice of law enforcement agencies of the Russian Federation and foreign countries] Yuridicheskaya psikhologiya [Legal psychology], 2009, no. 4, pp. 10—14. (In Russ.).
  11. Kovyazina M.S., Fomina K.A. Neiropsikhologicheskii potentsial metoda «fiksirovannoi ustanovki» D.N. Uznadze [Neuropsychological potential of the "fixed installation" method Uznadze] Eksperimental'naya psikhologiya [Experimental Psychology (in Russia)], 2016, vol. 9 (3), pp. 91—102. doi:10.17759/exppsy.2016090308 (In Russ.).
  12. Korneev A.A., Lomakin D.I. Eksperimental'noe issledovanie rabochei pamyati u detei i vzroslykh na materiale vosproizvedeniya posledovatel'nostei, zadannykh zritel'nym obraztsom [Experimental study of working memory in children and adults on the material of reproduction of sequences given by a visual sample] Eksperimental'naya psikhologiya [Experimental Psychology (in Russia)], 2017, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 53—66. doi:10.17759/exppsy.2017100105 (In Russ.).
  13. Maiers D. Sotsial'naya psikhologiya [Social Psychology]. St. Petersburg, Piter Publ., 1998. 688 p. (In Russ.).
  14. Nurkova V.V. Zabyt' nel'zya pomnit': mnemicheskii «effekt otrecheniya» i sub"ektivnaya otsenka istinnosti avtobiograficheskikh vospominanii [Forgetting can not be remembered: the mnemic "abjuration effect" and the subjective evaluation of the truth of autobiographical memories] Psihologiâ i pravo [Psychology and Law], 2015, no. 2, pp. 126—135. (In Russ.).
  15. Uznadze D. N. Psikhologiya ustanovki [Psychology of installation]. St. Petersburg, Piter Publ., 2001. 416 p. (In Russ.).
  16. Bays P. M., Husain M. Dynamic shifts of limited working memory resources in human vision. Science, 2008, vol. 321, pp. 851—854. doi: 10.1126/science.1158023
  17. Johansson, P., Hall, L., Sikström, S., Olsson, A. Failure to detect mismatches between intention and outcome in a simple decision task. Science, 2005, vol. 310, pp. 116—119. doi: 10.1126/science.1111709
  18. Frowd C.D., Hancock P., Bruce V., Skelton F.C., Atherton C., Nelson L., McIntyre A.H., Pitchford M., Atkins R., Webster A., Pollard J., Hunt B., Price E., Morgan S., Greening R., Stoika A., Dughila R., Maftei S., Sendrea G. Catching more offenders with Evofit Facial Composites: Lab Research and Police Field Trials. Global Journal of Human Social Science, 2011, vol. 11, iss. 3, pp. 34—46.
  19. Kleider-Offutt H.M., Knuycky L.R., Clevinger A.M., Capodanno M.M. Wrongful convictions and prototypical black features: Can a face-type facilitate misidentifications? Legal and Criminological Psychology, 2017, vol. 22, iss. 2, pp. 300—358. doi: 10.1111/lcrp.12105
  20. Loftus E.; Hoffman H.G. Misinformation and memory: The creation of memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 1989, vol. 118, pp. 100—104. doi:10.1037/0096-3445.118.1.100
  21. Loftus E., Pickrell J.E. The formation of false memories. Psychiatric Annals, 1995, vol. 25, pp. 720—725.
  22. Meissner C.A. Applied Aspects of the Instructional Bias Effect in Verbal Overshadowing. Applied Cognitive Psycholology, 2002, vol. 16, pp. 911—928. doi: 10.1002/acp.918
  23. Piaget J. La formation du symbole chez l'enfant. Neuchatel, Delachaux et Niestle, 1945. 308 p.
  24. Sagana A., Sauerland M., Merckelbach H. Memory impairment is not sufficient for choice blindness to occur. Frontiers Psychology, 2014, no. 5, pp. 1—8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00449
  25. Sagana A., Sauerland M., Merckelbach H. Witnesses’ blindness for their own facial recognition decisions: a field study. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 2013, vol. 31, pp. 624—636. doi: 10.1002/bsl.2082
  26. Statham S. In Redefining Trial by Media: Towards a critical-forensic linguistic interface. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2016. 325 p.
  27. Wixted J.T., Mickes L. Clark S.E., Gronlund S.D. Roediger H.L. Initial Eyewitness Confidence Reliably Predicts Eyewitness Identification Accuracy. American Psychologist, 2015, vol. 70 (6), pp. 515—526. doi: org/10.1037/a0039510

Information About the Authors

Tatiana P. Budyakova, PhD in Psychology, Docent, Professor, Department of Pedagogy & Educational Technologies, Institute of Psychology & Pedagogy, Bunin Yelets State University, Yelets, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1739-837X, e-mail: budyakovaelez@mail.ru



Total: 2605
Previous month: 15
Current month: 11


Total: 545
Previous month: 1
Current month: 0