Fingerprint identification: The biasing effect of search strategy

Elise Jones (2011). Fingerprint identification: The biasing effect of search strategy Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Elise Jones
Thesis Title Fingerprint identification: The biasing effect of search strategy
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-10-12
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr Jason Tangen
Total pages 60
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Fingerprint identification has been used for over 100 years, and currently provides crucial evidence in court proceedings. Contrary to its depiction on television shows, the fingerprint identification process relies heavily on human judgement. Although fingerprint identification involves a great deal of human cognition and perception, there has been minimal psychological research in this area. We investigated the effect of different search strategies (i.e., inclusion, exclusion, no-strategy) by testing 107 participants on their ability to discriminate between matching and non-matching prints. Those in the inclusion condition compared the prints by focusing on features that were the same between the prints; those in the exclusion condition focused on features that were different between the prints; and those in the no-strategy condition were not given a strategy to use. The results revealed that search strategies bias subjects’ tendency to declare matches or non-matches (regardless of whether the prints actually matched or not), depending on the strategy used. We also found that subjects discriminated the prints better when they were not asked to rely on a specific search strategy. Overall, our study highlights that the particular search strategy that a person uses to compare prints can influence the judgements that they make.
Keyword Finger print identification
Search strategies and bias

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Created: Mon, 18 Jun 2012, 13:46:56 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology