Mary Cops

Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Andre Kehn


The featural justification effect occurs when an eyewitness provides a confidence statement at the time of lineup identification that includes reference to a facial feature or component that aided them in their identification (Dodson & Dobolyi, 2015, 2017, 2018; Slane & Dodson, 2019). The result of the effect, found across several manipulations, is that jurors tend to discredit the confidence of an eyewitness that references a facial feature (such as eyes, nose, chin) in the identification statement. The current studies examined featural justification, along with eyewitness viewing conditions and legal safeguards. Participants were presented with either expert testimony (study 1) or jury instruction (study 2) with the aim of sensitizing mock jurors to eyewitness factors in the case, as well as alleviate the featural justification effect. Results of both studies replicated the featural justification effect and found a significant main effect of viewing condition on verdict, such that good viewing conditions resulted in more guilty verdicts than bad viewing conditions. Other significant findings varied between the two studies. The current findings contribute to research on the featural justification effect and include discussion of implications for cases including eyewitness evidence.