QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Sufficient Assumption
CONCLUSION: Police officers shouldn’t allow suspect lineups where witnesses can hear each other identifying suspects.
REASONING: There is little correlation between the accuracy of a witness and how confident they are. (i.e. the most worthless witnesses are likely to be confident). Some factors can increase or decrease a witness’s confidence without changing the accuracy of the identification.
ANALYSIS: The stimulus proves that some witnesses are overconfident. But it’s not clear how mingling witnesses will lead to worse evidence.
We need a principle that links the evidence to the conclusion. If overconfident witnesses can influence other witnesses, then mixing them is a bad idea. Jurors might incorrectly switch their opinions.
- CORRECT. A witness might know which suspect is the criminal…but when they go to identify him, they hear some blowhard confidently identifying the wrong guy. This might cause the first witness to become unconfident in their memory and pick the wrong suspect.
- The advice is to keep the witnesses separate. It doesn’t say if the suspects should be presented together or separately.
- This depends. A loud, confident witness could mislead the whole group if witnesses are able to hear each other. The stimulus is assuming this answer choice is true only if the witnesses can’t hear each other.
- Actually the stimulus seems more interested in accuracy rather than the confidence.
- Depends. It’s quite possible for one witness to be right and all other witnesses to be wrong. The main thing is not to let the witnesses influence each other.
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