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The Nature of Expertise in Fingerprint Examiners

NCJ Number
Psychonomic Bulletin Review Volume: 17 Issue: 2 Dated: 2010 Pages: 155-160
Thomas A. Busey; Francisco J. Parada
Date Published
6 pages
Since latent print examinations involve a complex set of psychological and cognitive processes, this article summarizes existing work that has addressed how training and experience creates changes in latent print examiners.

Experience appears to improve overall accuracy, increase visual working memory, and lead to configural processing of upright fingerprints. Experts also demonstrate a narrower visual filter and, as a group, tend to show greater consistency when viewing ink prints. These findings address recent criticisms of latent print evidence, but many open questions still exist. Cognitive scientists are well positioned to conduct studies that will improve the training and practices of latent print examiners, and suggestions for becoming involved in fingerprint research are provided. 24 references (publisher abstract modified)