Reaction time-based Concealed Information Test in eyewitness identification is moderated by picture similarity but not eyewitness cooperation.

Affiliation

Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands. [Email]

Abstract

The reaction time-based Concealed Information Test (RT-CIT) has high validity in assessing recognition of critical information. Findings on its usefulness for diagnosing face recognition in eyewitnesses are inconsistent. Experiment 1 (N = 82) tested whether closely matching the faces of the probes and irrelevants, as required for a fair lineup, undermines RT-CIT usefulness. Preregistered Experiments 2a and 2b (Ns = 48), tested the role of eyewitness cooperativeness for RT-CIT validity. All participants watched a mock crime video and then completed an RT-CIT. As expected, the usefulness of the RT-CIT was moderated by picture similarity, with better detection for non-matched faces. Unexpectedly, eyewitness cooperation (conceal vs. reveal recognition), did not affect the validity of the RT-CIT. A large CIT effect observed in Experiment 2b further suggested that-even with matched faces-the RT-CIT might be of use when encoding conditions during the crime were favorable. Cases in which witnesses are unwilling or afraid to make an explicit identification might concern another possible application.