Crime - how can we solve it?

Onwuegbusi, Tochukwu (2022) Crime - how can we solve it? In: Science and Psychology: Applying science and psychology to dance, magic, and hypnotism, 29 - 30 November 2022, Friends House, London & St Georges, Bristol.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive


One of the leading goals of criminal investigation is suspect identification. These investigative goals remain the hallmark of proactive policing strategies or what Ribaux and colleagues (2010) referred to as intelligence led policing. To achieve this objective, police have to rely on a number of evidential factors to aid their investigation. Indeed, this is a challenging task, especially when no physical evidence is available. Evidence retrieved from crime scene help reveal the underlying motives linked to the crime including the modus operandi. It also aids the detectives in linking crime scenes or crime and most importantly, identifying crime suspect/s. Given the complexities that characterise crime scene investigation, detectives have had to rely on technologies to facilitate investigation. Recently, eyetracking has gained prominence in the field of forensic science including psychology. In this talk, I am going to describe the application of a novel eyetracking method to aid police crime investigation, particularly in suspect identification. Two groups of participants (N=22) watched violent knife attack in an office environment while their eye movements are being monitored. Group 1, otherwise known as the “Experts” first saw the violent scene (Time 1) and two days later saw the same office environment, but without violent content (Time 2). Group 2, the “Novice” first saw the neutral office setting (Time 1) and after day two, saw the violent office attack (Time 2). The results reveal differences in gaze patterns made towards the non-violent videos, such that Group 1 (Expert) observers fixated more on the location in the video where the crime occurred compared to Group 2 (Novice) observers, suggesting priming effect. Experts are more likely to attend to relevant and important aspects of the scene and can use knowledge based shortcuts to understand the scene more easily compared to novices. Our data suggests that fixation patterns may be repeated during the recognition of familiar scenes. Thus, tracking eye fixations could give insight as to whether the suspect under police interrogation is lying about having memory of the crime scene.

Keywords:Crime scenes, Eyetracking, Police, Suspect identification, novice-expert comparisons
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
M Law > M211 Criminal Law
Divisions:COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND SCIENCE > School of Psychology
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ID Code:55495
Deposited On:11 Sep 2023 13:09

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