While a father whose child got kidnapped and later on murdered handed over the ransom money for his son, he heard a few words in a German accent coming from the kidnapper whom he couldn’t see. Later in court when confronted with a suspect, he indicated that the suspect´s voice was the voice of the kidnapper and the man was convicted for murder.
If a father claims to recognize the voice of the man who murdered his son, do you think this man should be convicted based on the father’s testimony?
Most people tend to be overconfident in their judgments about recognizing voices. There are many studies on earwitness testimonies showing little evidence that people are very accurate regarding voice recognition. Did the kidnapper’s accent make his voice so distinct to be correctly identified or would the father also have been able to identify the kidnapper’s voice without accent? What if the kidnapper had spoken in a different language in court than during the crime? These questions are important to investigate as the world nowadays is very diverse and there are people speaking in many different languages in every country.
Therefore, we want to find out about the ability of people to recognize voices especially concerning different languages. Does it make a difference in speaker recognition accuracy and confidence if the language spoken in the encoding and retrieval phases are congruent vs. incongruent? Based on previous studies that claim the more familiar someone is with a language the more accurate it is recognized; we expect to find the accuracy and confidence in speaker recognition to be higher when encoding and retrieval phases are congruent.
This study can help to further improve decisions made by courts involving earwitnesses all over the world.