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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Committee on Law and Justice
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Committee on Scientific Approaches to Understanding and Maximizing the Validity and Reliability of Eyewitness Identification in Law Enforcement and the Courts
Project Scope

In collaboration with the Committee on Science, Technology and the Law. Beginning in October 2013, an ad hoc committee was convened for a consensus study to critically assess the existing body of scientific research as it relates to eyewitness identification and, among other things, offer recommendations for jury instructions and best practices by law enforcement.


In Phase I of a possible two-phase study, an ad hoc committee will 1) critically assess the existing body of scientific research as it relates to eyewitness identification; 2) identify any gaps in the existing body of literature and suggest, as appropriate, other research questions to be pursued that will further our understanding of eyewitness identification and that might offer additional insight into law enforcement and courtroom practice; 3) provide an assessment of what can be learned from research fields outside of eyewitness identification; 4) offer recommendations for best practices in the handling of eyewitness identifications by law enforcement; 5) offer recommendations for developing jury instructions; 6) offer advice regarding the scope of a Phase II consideration of neuroscience research as well as any other areas of research that might have a bearing on eyewitness identification; and 7) write a consensus report with appropriate findings and recommendations.







A consensus report will be issued at the end of the project.


Provisional membership


Thomas D. Albright
Professor and Director, Vision Center Laboratory and Conrad T. Prebys Chair in Vision Research
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

Jed S. Rakoff
Senior Judge
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York


Karen L. Amendola
Chief Behavioral Scientist
Police Foundation

Joe S. Cecil
Project Director
Division of Research
Federal Judicial Center

Winrich Freiwald
Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Neural Systems
Rockefeller University

Brandon L. Garrett
Roy L. and Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Professor of Law
University of Virginia Law School

Karen Kafadar
Rudy Professor of Statistics
College of Arts and Sciences
Indiana University, Bloomington

A.J. Kramer
Federal Public Defender for the District of Columbia

Scott McNamara
Oneida County (NY) District Attorney

Charles Alexander Morgan III
Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Yale University School of Medicine

Elizabeth A. Phelps
Silver Professor of Psychology and Neural Science
New York University

Daniel J. Simons
Department of Psychology
University of Illinois

Anthony D. Wagner
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and
Co-Director, Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging
Stanford University
Stanford Memory Laboratory

Joanne Yaffe
Professor of Social Work and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry
University of Utah

This project is sponsored by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

Meetings and Events

December 2-3, 2013
1st Meeting
Washington, DC

February 6-7, 2014
2nd Meeting
Washington, DC

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Anne-Marie Mazza, Ph.D.
Director, Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
Phone: 202-334-2469

Arlene Lee, Ph.D.
Director, Committee on Law and Justice
Phone: 202-334-2642

Steven Kendall, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
Phone: 202-334-1713

Karolina Konarzewska
Program Assistant, Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
Phone: 202-334-2455

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