Influence of selected personality traits on the course and results of fingerprint comparison


Mateusz Ignaszak
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Faculty of Law and Administration



Forensic experts in the field of fingerprint examination are prone to cognitive errors that can affect the opinion issuing process. A study was conducted to determine if students exhibiting certain intensities of two personality traits: the need for cognitive closure and controllability, have a predisposition to be better fingerprint examination experts compared to others. The study consisted of three stages: completion of personality questionnaires, training in fingerprint examination, and finally a fingerprint examination – related task. The task was appropriately staged to introduce cognitive illusions, led by which, the subjects were more likely to give incorrect answers. No significant correlation was found between the studied characteristics and correctness, biases, caution, and decisiveness in the task performed. The subjects were significantly more likely to give incorrect answers. There was a positive correlation of time with the number of correct answers. A significant positive correlation was also observed between the preference of order and caution in task performance. The results obtained can be used in typing individuals who will perform better at comparing fingerprints.

Key words: fingerprint expertise, comparative testing, expert personality traits, cognitive closure, controllability, cognitive bias