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Психология и право

Издатель: Московский государственный психолого-педагогический университет

ISSN (online): 2222-5196

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

Лицензия: CC BY-NC 4.0

Издается с 2010 года

Периодичность: 4 номера в год

Формат: сетевое издание

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Expert facial comparison evidence: Science versus pseudo science 1974


Макнейл А.
PhD, факультет психологии, социальной работы и смежных с медициной наук, Университет Глазго Каледониан, Великобритания
e-mail: a.mcneill@gcu.ac.uk

Сухомска М.
Факультет психологии, социальной работы и смежных с медициной наук, Университет Глазго Каледониан, Великобритания

Страти А.
Школа энергетики, наук о Земле, инфраструктуры и общества, Хериот-Уатт Университет, Великобритания


Confirming the identity of the accused is a critical component of many criminal trials. However, recent evidence suggests this process is highly error prone and leads to unacceptably high rates of wrongful conviction (Innocence Project, 2015). When photographic identification evidence is ambiguous, facial mapping practitioners may be called upon to make comparisons between images of the culprit and the accused. This practice assumes that the techniques employed are reliable and can be used to assist the court in making identity confirmation decisions. However, previous experimental work in this area has established that many of these techniques are unreliable (Kleinberg, Vanezis & Burton, 2007; Strathie, McNeill & White, 2012). We extend these findings by examining another facial mapping technique that uses gridlines, drawn between face-pairs, as a potential face matching aid (Oxlee, 2007). Results show that a simple side-by-side presentation of face-pairs without gridlines produces most accurate responding. Moreover, the application of the grideline technique increases the likelihood that two different face pairs will judged to be the same. These findings suggest that continuing to admit facial mapping evidence in court is likely to increase, rather than decrease, the incidence of wrongful conviction.

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Фрагмент статьи

Establishing that the person in the dock is the person who committed the crime is an essential component of many criminal trials. While an eyewitness who has identified the defendant as the perpetrator can have a persuasive effect on a jury, research suggests that the high value attached to this form of evidence is not always justified (Scheck, Neufeld & Dwyer, 2000). Indeed, figures from the Innocence Project, an organisation that works to overturn miscarriages of justice using DNA evidence, suggest that faulty eyewitness identification evidence is the single greatest cause of wrongful conviction (The Innocence Project, 2015). In January 2015, post-conviction exonerations stood at 325, with 234 (72%) attributable to eyewitness misidentification. Research in this area appears to support this estimate. Huff, Rattner, & Sagarin (1986) suggest that 60% of cases of wrongful imprisonment involve eyewitness misidentification, whereas Wells, Small, Pernod, Malpass, Fulero, & Brimacombe (1998) put this figure as high as 90% (for further examples of eyewitness identification fallibility see: Cutler & Penrod, 1995; Lindsay & Pozzulo, 1999; Narby, Cutler & Penrod, 1996; Pezdek, 2012; Scheck, Neufeld & Dwyer, 2000; Wells & Bradfield, 1999; Westcott & Brace, 2002; Wright & Davies, 1999).  Taken together this compelling body of evidence suggests that eyewitness identification is highly unreliable. However, much progress has been made in recent years towards understanding the variables that contribute to the high error rates in this area.


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