Evaluating context effects on forensic examiners: potential influences on the perception of evidence and examiners’ decision-making
thesisposted on 2021-05-22, 11:42 authored by Melanie Taylor
The current study aimed to investigate whether contextual information affects examiners’ perception of fingerprint evidence and/or their decision-making process regarding whether the fingerprints are a match, nonmatch, or if it is inconclusive. Undergraduates (N = 129) were trained in fingerprint examination and subsequently examined two pairs of fingerprints. The time at which contextual information was distributed was manipulated to change what part of the examination could be influenced by the contextual information. It was hypothesized that the contextual information would affect both the examiner’s perception of the evidence as well as their decision-making process. Results were partially in line with this hypothesis; though the contextual information presented demonstrated no effect on participants’ conclusions, the timing at which the contextual information was presented did. Implications of these findings are discussed.