Perceptual–cognitive expertise in law enforcement: An object-identification task
Suss, Joel M.
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Scott, D., Vangsness, L., & Suss, J. (2022). Perceptual–Cognitive Expertise in Law Enforcement: An Object-Identification Task. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making. https://doi.org/10.1177/15553434221104600
The few perceptual–cognitive expertise and deception studies in the domain of law enforcement have yet to examine perceptual–cognitive expertise differences of police trainees and police officers. The current study uses methods from the perceptual–cognitive expertise and deception models. Participants watched temporally occluded videos of actors honestly drawing a weapon and deceptively drawing a non-weapon from a concealed location on their body. Participants determined if the actor was holding a weapon or a non-weapon. Using signal-detection metrics—sensitivity and response bias—we did not find evidence of perceptual–cognitive expertise; performance measures did not differ significantly between police trainees and experienced officers. However, consistent with the hypotheses, we did find that both police trainees and police officers became more sensitive in identifying the object as occlusion points progressed. Additionally, we found that across police trainees and police officers, their response bias became more liberal (i.e., more likely to identify the object as a weapon) as occlusion points progressed. This information has potential impacts for law enforcement practices and additional research.
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