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Activity Number: 291 - Statistical Applications in Forensic Evidence
Type: Topic Contributed
Date/Time: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 : 8:30 AM to 10:20 AM
Sponsor: Advisory Committee on Forensic Science
Abstract #329889 Presentation
Title: Accounting for Individual Differences Among Latent Print Examiners Using Item Response Theory
Author(s): Amanda Luby*
Companies: Carnegie Mellon University
Keywords: Item Response Theory; Latent print; Forensic Science

Fingerprint examination is an important part of many forensic investigations, and involves examiners comparing a latent print (unknown source) to a reference print (known source) to determine whether the prints were made from the same source. Given the same comparison task, different latent print examiners may come to different conclusions and/or use different criteria for coming to those decisions. There has been an influx of studies attempting to better estimate overall error rates as well as understand decision-making processes in forensic analyses. Item response theory (IRT) can provide valuable insight into these studies by accounting for both individual differences among examiners as well as comparison tasks of varying difficulty. We analyze the FBI ``black box'' dataset to better understand how individual differences among examiners, as well as varying difficulty of comparison tasks, may influence latent print analysis decisions. Differences between forensic science and traditional IRT applications are also addressed, including smaller sample sizes, increased privacy protections, sequentially-structured responses, and self-reported assessments of performance.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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