When emotions get the better of us:
The effect of contextual top-down processing on matching fingerprints
Itiel E. Dror, Ailsa Péron, Sara-Lynn Hind, and David Charlton
Twenty-seven participants made a total of 2,484 judgments whether a pair of fingerprints matched or not. A quarter of the trials acted as a control condition. The rest of the trials included top-down influences aimed at biasing the participants to find a match. These manipulations included emotional background stories of crimes and explicitly disturbing photographs from crime scenes, as well as subliminal messages. The data revealed that participants were affected by the top-down manipulations and as a result were more likely to make match judgments. However, the increased likelihood of making match judgments was limited to ambiguous fingerprints. The top-down manipulations were not able to contradict clear non-matching fingerprints. Hence, such contextual information actively bias the ways gaps are filled, but was not sufficient to override clear bottom-up information.
Applied Cognitive Psychology 19(6), (2005)
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