On Earwitness Lineups

Harry Hollien, PhD


Some confusion, even controversy, has accompanied the concept and/or application of what has been referred to as voice parades -- or perhaps more properly: earwitness lineups. This concern appears justified because 1) they often are confused with eyewitness lineups, 2) not very much research has been conducted on how effective they are and 3) clear-cut procedures as to how they should be carried out -- and especially good standards for their conduct and interpretation -- are but minimally available. Yet they can be most useful to investigations/trials when a person is a victim, or an observer, of a crime wherein they did not or could not see the perpetrator but could hear him or her speak. This article will briefly summarize the status of earwitness identifications, review acceptable procedures, and set standards for their conduct.


Voice parades; ear witnesses; ear witness identification; speakers; speaker identification; listeners; multiple choice trials; comprehensive review; foil talkers; distracter talkers; witness memory; voice identification

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ISSN 1942-7794