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Effect of the degree of alcohol intoxication on eyewitness memory for a violent crime: Identification accuracy in lineup

Conference contribution
Authors Angelica Hagsand
Emma Roos Af Hjelmsäter
Pär-Anders Granhag
Claudia Fahlke
Anna Söderpalm Gordh
Published in Oral presentation at The Nordic Network for Psychology and Law (NNPL), September 16-17 2011, Oslo, Norway
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Department of Psychology
Language en
Keywords Alcohol, eyewitnesses, memory, lineup
Subject categories Applied Psychology, Cognitive science, Psychology


Introduction and Aim. In Sweden, 50-70% of all violent crimes are alcohol related (BRÅ, 2007, 2009). Eyewitnesses are valuable to the Police since they have seen the event and many crimes lack technical evidence like DNA. Due to the limited studies in the area, this ongoing experimental study might give valuable knowledge to the legal system concerning the assessment of alcohol intoxicated eyewitnesses and the credibility of their testimonies. Methods. The participants (N = 120 when finished) consists of healthy adult students. The study uses a 3 x 2 between- participants design with random assignment to alcohol beverage (none vs. moderate vs. high dose,) and lineup presentation (target present vs. target absent). Consumption time is 15 minutes in a laboratory with living room design. A movie depicting a staged kidnapping is shown to the participants and after 30 minutes of distracting filler tasks the participants are interviewed. One week later, the participants are presented the simultaneous lineup in order to identify the culprit from the movie and are also interviewed in more detail about the crime scene. Results and Conclusions. The data collection is ongoing during the spring of 2011. To this date, data from half of the participants has been collected. Results concerning identification accuracy will be presented and discussed at the NNPL conference in Oslo in September 2011.

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