eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1952
Proceeding cover
of the estonian academy of sciences
ISSN 1736-7530 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-6046 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 1.045

The effect of various focal length photographs on eyewitness identification accuracy; pp. 354–360

Full article in PDF format | 10.3176/proc.2021.4S.07

Kristjan Kask, Erlend Art Arras, Elina Malleus


A key factor that has rarely been investigated regarding the technical details of photographs in eyewitness identification research is focal length. Focal length can be defined as the distance between the camera lens and the camera sensor, providing variance in the viewing angle and magnification of objects in the frame. In this paper, the effect of various focal length photographs on eyewitness identification accuracy is examined. Ninety adult participants watched a video of a mock theft, after which they were randomly shown a simultaneous six-person target-present lineup of photographs using a 24mm, 50mm or 100mm focal length. The participants who viewed photographs taken with either a 100mm or 50mm focal length identified the suspect more often than those who viewed photographs taken with a 24mm focal length. Based on these findings, we suggest that the standard focal length of photographs used for the purpose of eyewitness identification should always be between 50 mm and 100 mm.


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