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Identifying composites of famous faces: Investigating memory, language and system issues

Brace, N.A.; Pike, G.E.; Allen, P. and Kemp, R.I. (2006). Identifying composites of famous faces: Investigating memory, language and system issues. Psychology, Crime & Law, 12(4) pp. 351–366.

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Previous research on composite systems has cast doubt on their potential to produce a good likeness. Poor memory of the target's face and problems in translating a verbal description into a visual mental image were examined as possible reasons for this. A computerized composite system was used to construct facial images of famous individuals. Results indicated that a reasonable number of composites were identified overall. Composites produced directly by the “operators” tended to be more accurate than those produced via “describers”. In addition, composites produced via describers, but not those directly by operators, were less accurate when created from memory than when a photograph was provided. This suggests that verbal descriptions, as well as facial memory, may limit composite accuracy.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1477-2744
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetAT/100/97/0087Nuffield
Keywords: Facial composites, computerized composite systems, facial memory
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
Item ID: 11936
Depositing User: Graham Pike
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2008 06:57
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 15:37
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