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Article in Journal ()

Configural and featural information in facial-composite images

Citation
Frowd CD, Jones S, Fodarella C, Skelton FC, Fields S, Williams A, Marsh J, Thorley R, Nelson L, Greenwood L, Date L, Kearley K, McIntyre AH & Hancock PJB (2014) Configural and featural information in facial-composite images, Science and Justice, 54 (3), pp. 215-227.

Abstract
Eyewitnesses are often invited to construct a facial composite, an image created of the person they saw commit a crime that is used by law enforcement to locate criminal suspects. In the current paper, the effectiveness of composite images was investigated from traditional feature systems (E-FIT and PRO-fit), where participants (face constructors) selected individual features to build the face, and a more recent holistic system (EvoFIT), where they ‘evolved' a composite by repeatedly selecting from arrays of complete faces. Further participants attempted to name these composites when seen as an unaltered image, or when blurred, rotated, linearly stretched or converted to a photographic negative. All of the manipulations tested reduced correct naming of the composites overall except (i) for a low level of blur, for which naming improved for holistic composites but reduced for feature composites, and (ii) for 100% linear stretch, for which a substantial naming advantage was observed. Results also indicated that both featural (facial elements) and configural (feature spacing) information was useful for recognition in both types of composite system, but highly-detailed information was more accurate in the feature-based than the holistic method. The naming advantage of linear stretch was replicated using a forensically more-practical procedure with observers viewing an unaltered ¬composite sideways. The work is valuable to police practitioners and designers of facial-composite systems.

Keywords
facial composite; identification; feature; configural; criminal suspects; crime

StatusPublished
AuthorsFrowd Charlie D, Jones Sharrome, Fodarella Cristina, Skelton Faye Collette, Fields Stephen, Williams Anna, Marsh John, Thorley Rachel, Nelson Laura, Greenwood Leah, Date Louisa, Kearley Kevin, McIntyre Alex H, Hancock Peter J B
Publication date05/2014
Publication date online15/12/2013
Date accepted by journal25/11/2013
PublisherElsevier
ISSN 1355-0306
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Science and Justice: Volume 54, Issue 3

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