Reliability and perceived credibility of older eyewitnesses

Natalie Martschuk

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This research reports three studies that investigated the reliability and perceived credibility of older compared to young eyewitnesses. The studies were embedded in an integrative model for the investigation and evaluation of eyewitness testimony which distinguishes an information processing, a metamemory and a judgmental level. In Study 1, a meta-analysis integrated 19 studies on the influence of age on face recognition at the information processing level, showing a robust age-effect as well as the presence of an own-age bias. Study 2 shed light on metamemory processes across the lifespan, demonstrating a progressive dissociation between identification performance and confidence as well as decision time across age groups. At the judgmental level, Study 3 investigated how mock jurors as fact finders perceive older compared to younger eyewitnesses: Mock jurors were aware of age-related memory changes only to some extent, and did not consider them sufficiently when evaluating evidence of older eyewitnesses. In sum, the studies demonstrate that memory and metamemory are more fallible in older age than in young age. Therefore, fact finders, that is, police investigators, prosecutors, jurors, and judges need to consider an eyewitness´s age, together with decision time and expressed confidence when evaluating identification judgments.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Sporer, Siegfried, Principal Supervisor
Place of PublicationGermany
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


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