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Holistic Versus Featural Facial Composite Systems for People with Mild Intellectual Disabilities

Gawrylowicz J, Gabbert F, Carson D, Lindsay W & Hancock PJB (2012) Holistic Versus Featural Facial Composite Systems for People with Mild Intellectual Disabilities, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26 (5), pp. 716-720.

Limited verbal abilities might act as a barrier to witnesses with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) to provide accurate testimony. This might be particularly problematic when the police need to create a facial composite image. Contrary to featural composite systems such as Electronic Facial Identification Technique (E-FIT), holistic systems such as Evolutionary Facial Identification Technique (EvoFIT) do not require the witness to provide a verbal description of a perpetrator's face. Instead, they rely more on face recognition, which may make them more suitable for people with ID. The current study compared the performance of people with and without ID at creating composites using E-FIT and EvoFIT. Although ID composites created with EvoFIT were more often accurately identified than E-FIT composites, the performance of ID participants was overall very poor across both systems and considerably poorer than that of non-ID participants. The implications of these findings for practitioners working in the Criminal Justice System are discussed.

Eyewitness Memory; Facial Composites; Intellectual Disability

Subject headings
Face Social aspects; Physiognomy

AuthorsGawrylowicz Julie, Gabbert Fiona, Carson Derek, Lindsay William, Hancock Peter J B
Publication date09/2012
ISSN 0888-4080

Applied Cognitive Psychology: Volume 26, Issue 5 (2012)

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