Stanford University

Virtual human identification line-ups

Segovia, K.Y., Bailenson, J.N. & Leonetti, C. (2012). Virtual human identification line-ups. In Wilkinson, C. & Rynn, C. (Eds.), Craniofacial Identification, Cambridge University Press, 101-114.

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Abstract

The legal system has long relied on eyewitnesses of crimes to help identify and prosecute criminals. Eyewitness identification is arguably one of the most influential forms of evidence that can be presented to a judge or jury. The general idea behind eyewitness identification is that a witness to a crime, whether a victim or bystander, can later establish the perpetrator's identity. It is assumed that if the witness had a good view of the crime and was paying attention to the physical characteristics of the perpetrator, then the witness's memory will be a valid indicator of identity, particularly if the witness is certain about his or her identification. In this chapter, we will examine the current state of traditional eyewitness identification line-ups, present an overview of a recently proposed idea to utilise virtual environments and virtual humans in identification line-ups, and finally present a comprehensive review of how virtual human identification line-ups may offer advantages over traditional line-ups.

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