Earwitness identification: common ground, disputed territory and uncharted areas


  • A.P.A. Broeders Forensic Science Laboratory, Ministry of Justice




Voice parades, earwitness identification, speaker identification.


In the last decade there has been a growing interest in the questions raised by the auditory identification of persons by victims and witnesses. Within IAFP, the International Association for Forensic Phonetics, this has led to the call for guidelines or criteria for identification procedures such as the voice line-up. Against this background, parallels and contrasts with the more widely studied field of visual identification are discussed, as are a number of (un)resolved issues and/or misconceptions surrounding voice line-up procedure. These include the use of repeated trials, blank trials, familiar vs. unfamiliar voices, the use of actors, verbatim text or transcripts, and the notions of propitious heterogeneity and ecphoric similarity. Accepted notions are critically examined. The dearth of estimator-variable research is noted.

Author Biography

A.P.A. Broeders, Forensic Science Laboratory, Ministry of Justice

A.P.A. BROEDERS holds a degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands), where he subsequently taught English Language, Phonetics and Linguistics. In 1988 he joined the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice to set up a forensic phonetics and linguistics facility. His publications include books and articles on a variety of subjects ranging from English pronunciation and lexicography to forensic phonetics and earwitness identification by witnesses.



How to Cite

Broeders, A. (2013). Earwitness identification: common ground, disputed territory and uncharted areas. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 3(1), 3–13. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v3i1.3