Evolving the memory of a criminal’s face: methods to search a face space more effectively



Frowd CD, Bruce V, Pitchford M, Gannon C, Robinson M, Tredoux C, Park J, McIntyre AH & Hancock PJB (2010) Evolving the memory of a criminal’s face: methods to search a face space more effectively. Soft Computing, 14 (1), pp. 81-90.

Witnesses and victims of serious crime are often required to construct a facial composite, a visual likeness of a suspect’s face. The traditional method is for them to select individual facial features to build a face, but often these images are of poor quality. We have developed a new method whereby witnesses repeatedly select instances from an array of complete faces and a composite is evolved over time by searching a face model built using PCA. While past research suggests that the new approach is superior, performance is far from ideal. In the current research, face models are built which match a witness’s description of a target. It is found that such ‘tailored’ models promote better quality composites, presumably due to a more effective search, and also that smaller models may be even better. The work has implications for researchers who are using statistical modelling techniques for recognising faces.

face generation; evolution; PCA; genetic algorithms; Face Identification Case studies; Criminal investigation

Soft Computing: Volume 14, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2010
Publication date online13/01/2009
PublisherSpringer Verlag

People (1)


Professor Peter Hancock

Professor Peter Hancock

Professor, Psychology