Title

Form Blindness Testing: Assessing the Ability to Perform Latent Print Examination by Traditional Versus Nontraditional Students

Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

W. Lee Pierce

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

This study examined form blindness testing as a predictor of latent print examination success among traditional and nontraditional college students. A correlational analysis of traditional versus nontraditional students was also assessed. Data were collected for two groups: trained and untrained. The untrained group (n = 167) consisted of students enrolled in courses within the field of forensic science at a university in the southeastern United States during the spring 2009 academic term. Students retained within the untrained group were those with no fingerprint training. The trained group (n = 160) consisted of students who completed a science of fingerprinting course during the years 2003 to 2007 (archival data). The researcher employed a correlational design to determine whether form-blindness testing significantly predicts ability to perform latent print examination tasks. The study examined whether age, GPA, traditional/ nontraditional status, corrective vision, science background, form blindness, and fingerprint training affects one's ability to compare and identify latent prints. Alpha was set at 0.05. Regression analysis strongly supports the premise that a weighted set of variables significantly predicts the performance of college students on the fingerprint comparison test, with nearly two-thirds of the variance explained. Regression analysis also supports that a weighted set of variables significantly predict the performance of traditional college students on the fingerprint comparison test, with almost two-thirds of the variance explained. Moreover, findings suggest that a weighted set of variables also significantly predict the performance of nontraditional college students on the fingerprint comparison test, with more than two-thirds of the variance explained. All three regression models confirmed that latent fingerprint comparison scores can be reliably predicted through knowledge of a weighted set of variables. The full model for all college students indicated that traditional or nontraditional status does not significantly contribute to understanding latent fingerprint comparison performance. All models rejected the importance of GPA and the use of corrected vision when predicting latent fingerprint comparison. The most important predictors of latent fingerprint comparison performance, regardless of age grouping, were pattern recognition and form blindness. Regression findings demonstrate that the skills required for successful fingerprint comparison careers are highly dependent on one's ability to recognize patterns and forms.