Paine, Carina B.; Pike, Graham E.; Brace, Nicola A. and Westcott, Helen L.
Children making faces: the effect of age and prompts on children's facial composites of unfamiliar faces.
Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22(4),
The police do not usually ask child witnesses (under 10-years) to construct facial composites, as it is believed that they could not create images of sufficient accuracy. The main aim of the current experiment was to evaluate whether this age limit is a suitable threshold by comparing composites made by children of age 6-, 8- and 10-years and adults. Additionally, as children's lack of vocabulary to describe faces was considered a likely factor, a technique based on visual prompts was devised to obtain facial descriptions, and compared to construction based on verbal prompting. The experiment involved participants' construction of composites, which were subsequently evaluated subjectively (ranking and rating tasks) and objectively (matching task). Although adults' and older children's composites were, on average, more accurate than those of the younger children, the results demonstrated that children from the age of 6-years were able to produce facial composites of an unfamiliar face. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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