Theories of face recognition in cognitive psychology stipulate that the hallmark of accurate identification is the ability to recognize a person consistently, across different encounters. In this study, we apply this reasoning to eyewitness identification by assessing the recognition of the same target person repeatedly, over six successive lineups. Such repeat identifications are challenging and can be performed only by a proportion of individuals, both when a target exhibits limited and more substantial variability in appearance across lineups. The ability to do so correlates with individual differences in identification accuracy on two established tests of unfamiliar face recognition. This indicates that most observers have limited facial representations of target persons in eyewitness scenarios, which do not allow for robust identification in most individuals, partly due to limitations in their ability to recognize unfamiliar faces. In turn, these findings suggest that consistency of responses across multiple lineups of faces could be applied to assess which individuals are accurate eyewitnesses.
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DOI 10.1186/s41235-018-0121-8
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Matching Faces to Photographs: Poor Performance in Eyewitness Memory.Ahmed M. Megreya & A. Mike Burton - 2008 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 14 (4):364-372.

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