Honors Projects


The field of fingerprint examination within forensic science is vulnerable to error due to bias. The case that really highlighted this issue was the case of the Madrid bombing in 2004, where Brandon Mayfield was falsely convicted based on a false positive fingerprint identification. The 2009 NAS report questions the validity of the latent fingerprint examination field, pointing out the need for more objective criteria for comparisons and for studies on bias and error in this field. I plan to look into different studies to see if the issues with bias have been improved since the 2009 NAS report. I will be looking into contextual and confirmation bias specifically. I aim to compile enough information to make a proposed plan of how this field can be improved in the future. Examples of steps that could be taken to reduce bias include limiting irrelevant case information, changing requirements for verification, and possibly making these protocols requirements for accreditation in the latent print examination field.


Forensic Science

First Advisor

Dr. Worst

Second Advisor

Dr. Oechsle

Publication Date

Spring 4-28-2023