Frowd CD, Skelton FC, Hepton G, Holden L, Minahil S, Pitchford M, McIntyre AH, Brown C & Hancock PJB (2013) Whole-face procedures for recovering facial images from memory. Science and Justice, 53 (2), pp. 89-97. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2012.12.004
Research has indicated that traditional methods for accessing facial memories usually yield unidentifiable images. Recent research, however, has made important improvements in this area to the witness interview, method used for constructing the face and recognition of finished composites. Here, we investigated whether three of these improvements would produce even-more recognisable images when used in conjunction with each other. The techniques are holistic in nature: they involve processes which operate on an entire face. Forty participants first inspected an unfamiliar target face. Nominally 24h later, they were interviewed using a standard type of cognitive interview (CI) to recall the appearance of the target, or an enhanced 'holistic' interview where the CI was followed by procedures for focussing on the target's character. Participants then constructed a composite using EvoFIT, a recognition-type system that requires repeatedly selecting items from face arrays, with 'breeding', to 'evolve' a composite. They either saw faces in these arrays with blurred external features, or an enhanced method where these faces were presented with masked external features. Then, further participants attempted to name the composites, first by looking at the face front-on, the normal method, and then for a second time by looking at the face side-on, which research demonstrates facilitates recognition. All techniques improved correct naming on their own, but together promoted highly-recognisable composites with mean naming at 74% correct. The implication is that these techniques, if used together by practitioners, should substantially increase the detection of suspects using this forensic method of person identification.
Facial composite; Holistic face-processing; Interview; Witness; Face recognition
Science and Justice: Volume 53, Issue 2
|Publication date online||16/01/2013|
|Date accepted by journal||19/12/2012|