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University of Stirling



A decade of evolving composites: regression- and meta-analysis

Frowd C, Erickson WB, Lampinen JM, Skelton F, McIntyre A & Hancock PJB (2015) A decade of evolving composites: regression- and meta-analysis. Journal of Forensic Practice, 17 (4), pp. 319-334.

Purpose - The article assesses the impact of seven variables that emerge from laboratory research involving facial-composite construction using popular police systems: EvoFIT, Feature and Sketch.  Design/methodology/approach - The paper involves regression- and meta-analyses on composite-naming data from 23 studies that have followed procedures used by police practitioners for forensic face construction. The corpus for analyses contains 6464 individual naming responses from 1,069 participants in 41 experimental conditions.  Findings - The analyses reveal that composites constructed from the holistic EvoFIT system were over four-times more identifiable than composites from Feature and Sketch systems; Sketch was somewhat more effective than Feature systems. EvoFIT was more effective when internal features were created before rather than after selecting hair and the other external features. The holistic cognitive interview (H-CI) was shown to promote a valuable improvement (cf. CI) in naming for the three system types tested. The analysis also confirmed that composites were considerably less effective when constructed from a long (1 - 2 day) compared with a short (0 - 3.5 hour) retention interval.  Practical implications - Variables were assessed that are of importance to forensic practitioners who construct composites with witnesses and victims of crime.  Originality/value - A range of variables were assessed that are of importance to forensic practitioners who construct composites with witnesses and victims of crime. The main results are that EvoFIT using an internal-features method of construction is superior, as is the H-CI administered prior to face construction for three contrasting production systems. Keywords facial composite, EvoFIT, feature system, sketch, H-CI, regression, metaanalysis.

Meta-analysis; EvoFIT; Sketch; Facial composite; Feature system; Holistic CI; Regression analysis

Journal of Forensic Practice: Volume 17, Issue 4

Author(s)Frowd, Charlie; Erickson, William B; Lampinen, James M; Skelton, Faye; McIntyre, Alex; Hancock, Peter J B
Publication date31/12/2015
Publication date online2015
Date accepted by journal25/03/2015
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