The Field View: An Initial Examination of an Exploratory Eyewitness Identification Procedure Dissertation

(2016). The Field View: An Initial Examination of an Exploratory Eyewitness Identification Procedure . 10.25148/etd.FIDC000731

thesis or dissertation chair


  • Kavetski, Melissa


  • The field view is an identification procedure that was recently acknowledged in a national report assessing eyewitness identifications. However, the field view has not been empirically examined to date. In fact, very little is known regarding the effectiveness of the procedure. Because it is an exploratory procedure - used by police when they do not have a suspect in mind - it is important to determine how the field view fares in comparison to the traditional procedures such as lineups and showups, whereby police do have a suspect. Using a controlled, lab-based methodology, Study 1 examined correct and false identifications elicited from the field view procedure and whether filler similarity affects identification accuracy. Results revealed that the exploratory field view can be a harmful procedure, particularly when the perpetrator is not present in the location, as it produced significantly more false identifications (36%) than both the lineup (13%) and showup (5%) procedures. The reason for this alarmingly high rate of mistaken identifications is that in an exploratory procedure, there is not an a priori suspect, and thus, nobody in the location is known to be innocent, as fillers are in a lineup. Because of this, anyone identified would come under suspicion. A second study further examined whether the field view may be an acceptable identification procedure under a different circumstance, namely, when police do have a suspect. Study 2 used a more ecologically valid methodology to examine the hypothesis that this confirmatory field view procedure may fare superior to the showup under the condition that the field view is administered by someone who is blind to the identity of the suspect. Contrary to our predictions, however, all three procedures (i.e., field view with non-blind administration; field view with blind administration; showup) produced comparable correct and false identification rates. Overall, results indicate that a field view may be a viable procedure when it is used as a confirmatory procedure and includes fillers similar to the suspect. More research is needed to determine under what conditions exploratory procedures may be acceptable.

publication date

  • July 7, 2016


  • Exploratory identification procedures
  • Eyewitness
  • Field view
  • Identification procedures
  • Lineup
  • Showup

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)