Monday, April 23, 2012

Scent ID Dogs Found More Accurate in Scent Lineups of Women than of Men

Research in which I participated appears in the May 2012 issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences. The lead researcher was Tadeusz Jezierski of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Department of Animal Behavior, who is a co-author of two chapters in Police and Military Dogs which deal with scent identification and scent lineups. I am constrained by contract from covering this development at the level I probably would had I not been a co-author, but a brief reference is appropriate. The research concluded that dogs in controlled trials more accurately distinguished the hand odors of women than the hand odors of men. If the target odor, the scent that the dog was supposed to match, was that of a man, the dogs were more likely to falsely alert to another man than was the case if the target odor was that of a woman. Also, in single-gender lineups, when all the odors were those of men or those of women, dogs were more likely to pick the correct woman than the correct man in a lineup. We note that the ability to identify individual women's hand odors better than men's may be due to gender differences in chemical compounds or due to a greater "attractiveness" of human female odors. As we discussed in Police and Military Dogs, scent identification of women is less common than that of men, but lawyers and expert witnesses in cases where the conduct of a scent lineup is in issue may find the research helpful in developing certain positions at trial or on appeal.

Jezierski, T., SobczyÅ„ska, M., Walczak, M., Gorecka-Bruzda, M., and Ensminger, J. (2012). Do Trained Dogs Discriminate Individual body Odors of Women Better than Those of Men? Journal of Forensic Sciences, 57(3), 647-653, May 2012 (DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.02029.x).

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