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Thursday 27 July 2017

Witnesses point finger of blame at faces they dislike

Ben Mitchell in London

Witnesses may point the finger at a suspect in a line-up simply because they do not like the way they look, scientists said yesterday.

Psychologists Dr Hartmut Blank and Dr Jim Sauer, of the University of Portsmouth, have been awarded £100,000 (€119,813) to examine what may influence people when picking out a possible perpetrator.

Their initial research suggests that people are more likely to identify line-up members they dislike and less likely to identify someone they like.

They say that such decisions are automatic and spontaneous rather than thought out.

Dr Blank, a specialist in memory and the effect of social influences on how and what we remember, said: "It's natural that we don't enjoy creating trouble for someone we like by identifying them as a perpetrator."

Irish Independent

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