Collaboration with Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, University of Birmingham and University of Victoria.
Accurate witness identification (ID) is a cornerstone of police inquiries and national security investigations. Yet, the technology used to display lineups has not fundamentally changed over the past century. Worldwide, police present witnesses with 2D photographic or video lineups. Eyewitnesses often err on ID tests—analyses of real-world police identification parades reveal that witnesses quite often identify known-innocent suspects as culprits. Eyewitness mistakes can have dire consequences and been implicated in about 70% of wrongful convictions. This project implements recent advances in 3D image technology and virtual reality (VR) to increase witness ID accuracy. We will develop a new lineup procedure that enables witnesses to rotate 3D faces and view them moving into different angles in VR. Our project brings together an international team psychologists and computer scientists from the United Kingdom (University of Birmingham, University of Stirling), Canada (University of Victoria), and Germany (the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Our cross-national approach will allow for robust testing and external validation by a wide range of end users. Our project combines theory and state-of-the art computing skills of the leading experts in their respective fields to substantially improve lineup procedures in applied settings