The influence of holistic interviewing on hair perception for the production of facial composites



Frowd CD, Ramsay S & Hancock PJB (2011) The influence of holistic interviewing on hair perception for the production of facial composites. International Journal of Bio-Science and Bio-Technology, 3 (3), pp. 55-64.;

There is mounting evidence to suggest that the external features of a person face -- shape, ears and, in particular, hair -- exert a detrimental effect on the construction of a facial composite. The effect was first demonstrated for EvoFIT, a software system whereby constructors repeatedly select whole faces from arrays of alternatives, with 'breeding', to 'evolve' a face. In research by Frowd and Hepton (2009), volunteers saw a target face and, 24 hours later, were interviewed to describe the face in detail and then used EvoFIT in one of two ways: Constructors saw face arrays containing hair that was either similar-to or exactly-matched hair on a target face. The study found that using exactly-matching hair promoted much-more identifiable composites than using similar hair. More recent research, however, has found that system performance is improved following use of a novel interview given to constructors. This holistic-cognitive interview prompts constructors to recall the target face in detail and then make seven personality-type judgments about it, with the aim of improving their face-recognition ability and thereby produce a better-quality composite. In the current research, we carried out a partial replication of Frowd and Hepton using the holistic-cognitive interview. It was found that identification of composites constructed in this way did not differ significantly by type of hair, and so the enhanced interview appears to mask inaccuracies in presented hair, promoting more identifiable images. Theoretical implications of the research are discussed for EvoFIT along with other system developments that have focused on the potential influence of hair.

EvoFIT; Facial composites; Holistic-cognitive interview

International Journal of Bio-Science and Bio-Technology: Volume 3, Issue 3

Publication date30/09/2011
PublisherScience and Engineering Research Support Society (SERSC)
Publisher URL

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Professor Peter Hancock

Professor Peter Hancock

Professor, Psychology