Improving discrimination and face matching with caricature



McIntyre AH, Hancock PJB, Kittler J & Langton S (2013) Improving discrimination and face matching with caricature. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27 (6), pp. 725-734.

Identification of faces from photographs is a common security measure, but matching unfamiliar faces produces high rates of error. Caricatures of familiar people are highly identifiable because they exaggerate distinctive features. We investigated whether exaggerating unfamiliar faces through caricaturing could also improve face-matching accuracy. In Experiment 1, face-matching arrays were caricatured relative to an average by 30%, 50% and 70%. Correct rejection of the target-absent arrays was improved at all levels. Accurate matches increased at 30%, but at 70%, the transformation was too extreme, and all of the arrays were more likely to be rejected. In Experiment 2, photographic identification (ID) images were caricatured by 30% and 50% and matched to life-size photographs. Rejection of foils improved, but the ID of matching images was impaired. Modest levels of caricature may improve discrimination in unfamiliar face matching, but at stronger levels, a conservative response bias may inhibit accurate ID.

caricature: face matching: face space: face average: photographic identification

Applied Cognitive Psychology: Volume 27, Issue 6

Publication date30/11/2013
Publication date online11/11/2013

People (2)


Professor Peter Hancock

Professor Peter Hancock

Professor, Psychology

Dr Stephen Langton

Dr Stephen Langton

Senior Lecturer, Psychology