Voice parade procedures: Optimising witness performance


Unfamiliar voice identification is error-prone. Whilst the investigation of system variables may indicate ways of boosting earwitness performance, this is an under-researched area. Two experiments were conducted to investigate how methods of presenting voices during a parade affect accuracy and self-rated confidence. In each experiment participants listened to a target voice, and were later asked to identify that voice from a nine-person target present or target absent parade. In Experiment 1, accuracy did not vary across parades comprising 15 or 30 s sample durations. Overall, when the target was present, participants correctly identified the target voice with 39% accuracy. However, when the target was absent, participants correctly rejected the parade 6% of the time. There was no relationship between accuracy and confidence. In Experiment 2, performance with a serial procedure, in which participants responded after hearing all nine voices, was compared with a sequential procedure, in which participants made a decision after listening to each voice. Overall accuracy was higher with the sequential procedure. These results highlight the importance of system variable research in voice identification. Different methods of presenting voices have the potential to support higher levels of accuracy than the procedure currently recommended in England and Wales.


The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


Voice parades, Voice lineup, Unfamiliar voice identification, system variables, Earwitness


Smith, H.M.J., Bird, K., Roeser, J., Robson, J., Braber, N., Wright, D. and Stacey, P.C. (2019) Voice parade procedures: optimising witness performance, Memory,


Research Institute

Centre for Law, Justice and Society