Expertise in fingerprint identification

Thompson, Matthew B., Tangen, Jason M. and McCarthy, Duncan J. (2013) Expertise in fingerprint identification. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 58 6: 1519-1530. doi:10.1111/1556-4029.12203

Author Thompson, Matthew B.
Tangen, Jason M.
McCarthy, Duncan J.
Title Expertise in fingerprint identification
Journal name Journal of Forensic Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-1198
Publication date 2013-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1556-4029.12203
Volume 58
Issue 6
Start page 1519
End page 1530
Total pages 12
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract Although fingerprint experts have presented evidence in criminal courts for more than a century, there have been few scientific investigations of the human capacity to discriminate these patterns. A recent latent print matching experiment shows that qualified, court-practicing fingerprint experts are exceedingly accurate (and more conservative) compared with novices, but they do make errors. Here, a rationale for the design of this experiment is provided. We argue that fidelity, generalizability, and control must be balanced to answer important research questions; that the proficiency and competence of fingerprint examiners are best determined when experiments include highly similar print pairs, in a signal detection paradigm, where the ground truth is known; and that inferring from this experiment the statement "The error rate of fingerprint identification is 0.68%" would be unjustified. In closing, the ramifications of these findings for the future psychological study of forensic expertise and the implications for expert testimony and public policy are considered.
Keyword Forensic science
Decision making
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 13 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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