Academics

Jessica Arndt studies the reliability of eye-witness identification

Using resources from the Milwaukee Police Academy, Jessica Arndt, psychology '07, completed a study in eye-witness identification. Her study started as a research proposal in her experimental psychology class. Arndt discovered that very little research had been done in the area of eye-witness identification and it was worth a closer look. She decided that the field was so interesting and the possibilities were so broad that it warranted an independent study.

Eye Witness Reliability Project"Dr. Olson really liked the idea," says Arndt. "She put me in contact with the police academy, pointed me in the direction of research in the area and listened to my ideas."

The police captain helped her by offering Wisconsin's best practice for witness identification, supplying her with police training videos and helping to focus her research.

"I found that most people are not very good at eye-witness identification," explains Arndt. The mean score was 21 percent accuracy, showing the need for people to be educated in eye-witness identification.

"A research project leaves more questions in your mind than when you started, and it makes you want to do more research to find the answers," says Arndt

Arndt presented her study during WLC Research Week. Research Week allows students to learn about the scientific method by doing the scientific method. The process of doing research helps students become better consumers of research and gives them the opportunity to hone their critical thinking skills and research literacy.