Welcome to the Applied Cognition Lab

Members of the Applied Cognition Lab (ACL) conduct research that, broadly speaking, takes findings from the experimental psychology literature involving perception, attention, memory, and decision-making, and applies them to real-world issues. In particular, we are interested in issues of eyewitness identification, involving such topics as how a crime and perpetrator are encoded by an eyewitness, how that information is remembered, and how it is used to identify the perpetrator from the eventual lineup (or how to use the information to correctly reject a lineup containing an innocent suspect instead of the perpetrator). Over 300 innocent individuals had been released from prison based on DNA exoneration, and approximately 75% of these faulty imprisonments were due, at least in part, to mistaken eyewitness identification. This makes our research very important. In fact, more DNA exonerations have come from nearby Dallas county than any other in the U.S. Our recent experiments have focused on various lineup manipulations in order to increase eyewitness identification accuracy. Current projects in the ACL break down into four areas: 1) lineup manipulations, 2) the effect of an eyewitness’s verbalization of a face on their memory for that face and subsequent ability to identify that person, 3) effects of the presence of a weapon during a crime on eyewitness memory, and 4) unconscious transference (i.e., confusing an innocent person with a perpetrator). We also are growing more interested in the relationship between accuracy and confidence among eyewitnesses.

Interested in joining our lab? Email Dr. Carlson at curt.carlson@tamuc.edu.

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