Over a century of laboratory research has explored the mechanisms of memory using a variety of paradigms and stimuli. In addition, many researchers have taken up Neisser’s (1978) challenge to examine memory under real-world conditions, most prominently including the eyewitness identification problem. Unfortunately, these “high road” and “low road” perspectives rarely communicate with one another, with the eyewitness field largely adopting an approach that focuses on methodological adherence to conditions that mimic real-world situations. In the current paper we advocate for a “middle road” approach that includes a focus on theory development, an emphasis on the interaction between field and laboratory research, and the implementation of convergent approaches to investigating eyewitness identification. We argue that the field would be invigorated by such an approach, with benefits accruing to our understanding of eyewitness identification and to the development of procedures that will ultimately improve eyewitness accuracy.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/christian_meissner/42/