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An examination of criminal face bias in a random sample of police line-ups.

conference contribution
posted on 18.02.2016, 10:12 by Heather Flowe, Joyce E. Humphries
Faces with a stereotypic criminal appearance are remembered better and identified more often than other faces according to past research. In the present project, a random sample of police lineups was evaluated using the mock witness paradigm to determine whether criminal appearance was associated with lineup choices. In Study 1, mock witnesses were either provided with a description of the culprit or they were not. Participants also self-reported why they had selected a given face. In Study 2, the line-up faces were rated with respect to criminal appearance, distinctiveness, typicality, and physical similarity. Criminal appearance was the primary reason self reported for face selection in the no description condition. Mock witness choices in the no description condition were associated with only criminal appearance. When provided with a description, mock witnesses based their choice on the description. These findings are discussed in relation to lineup fairness.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


FLOWE, H., 2011. An examination of criminal face bias in a random sample of police line-ups.


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

Publication date



Invited paper presented at the British Psychological Society.




Glasgow, UK.

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