To what extent do the various measures of confidence affect the accuracy- confidence relationship in earwitnesses? A review of research on the earwitness testimony

  • Annette Verhaeg


Despite inconsistent findings regarding a relation between accuracy and confidence, the use of confidence as a correlate of accuracy is a common subject in forensic psychology research. Therefore, in this review the existence of an accuracy-confidence relationship (A-C relationship) in earwitnesses is examined by considering several variables influencing earwitness memory. First, two different methods of assessing confidence are discussed, the discrimination method and the absolute accuracy method, indicating no differences between these two kinds of methods. Subsequently, confidence is discussed in relation to incorrect/correct decisions and target present/absent conditions. It appears that the mere behavioural act of making an identification (vs. rejecting identification) increases the individual’s perceived confidence, regardless whether this identification is correct or not. Finally, future directions for research based on the findings of this review are highlighted.