Charts and fingerprints: A match made in court

Alice Towler (2011). Charts and fingerprints: A match made in court Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Alice Towler
Thesis Title Charts and fingerprints: A match made in court
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 57
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Forensic fingerprint evidence is considered irrefutable by fingerprint examiners, and despite a lack of peer-reviewed empirical research confirming the accuracy, validity and reliability of fingerprinting methods, fingerprint evidence has been used in court for more than a century. One of the options that has been proposed to improve the quality of fingerprint testimony is to limit the role of fingerprint experts, and allow jurors to match fingerprints. This study examined whether court charts (i.e., fingerprints with corresponding features highlighted) improve novices' ability to discriminate between matching and non-matching prints, and whether court charts produce a response bias to say “match”. Forty-two undergraduates were presented with pairs of fingerprints and asked to decide whether they matched or not. Half the fingerprints were presented as court charts, and the remaining prints were presented with no markings. We found that court charts do not improve novices' ability to discriminate between matching and non-matching fingerprints, and that they do not produce a response bias to say “match”. Therefore, our results suggest that court charts do not affect jurors' judgements about fingerprint evidence.
Keyword Discrimination of fingerprints
Court charts
Jurers' judgements

 
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Created: Thu, 28 Jun 2012, 15:08:18 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology