Exploring the sequential lineup advantage using WITNESS.

Abstract

Advocates claim that the sequential lineup is an improvement over simultaneous lineup procedures, but no formal (quantitatively specified) explanation exists for why it is better. The computational model WITNESS (Clark, Appl Cogn Psychol 17:629-654, 2003) was used to develop theoretical explanations for the sequential lineup advantage. In its current form, WITNESS produced a sequential advantage only by pairing conservative sequential choosing with liberal simultaneous choosing. However, this combination failed to approximate four extant experiments that exhibited large sequential advantages. Two of these experiments became the focus of our efforts because the data were uncontaminated by likely suspect position effects. Decision-based and memory-based modifications to WITNESS approximated the data and produced a sequential advantage. The next step is to evaluate the proposed explanations and modify public policy recommendations accordingly.

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