Last month, Texas joined nine other states and passed a measure that requires police departments across the state to review their eyewitness procedures. The law suggests that departments seriously consider the kinds of research-based reforms that psychological scientists have been talking about for years. NPR reports that this move by Texas — a strong law and order state — suggests the science of the lineup is steadily making its way out of the lab and moving to a police station near you.
NPR describes a scene in Dallas as a police officer and the eyewitness sit across the table from each other. The conversation might look totally innocuous: You would see a witness reviewing the pictures and steadily making decisions. In fact, psychologists say, the officer and the witness are engaged in an incredibly subtle emotional dance, moving together and apart in ways that neither are fully aware of.
For more background on the Texas measure, read this Crime Report story.