Facial Wipes don't Wash: Facial Image Comparison by Video Superimposition Reduces the Accuracy of Face Matching Decisions

Strathie, Ailsa and McNeill, Allan (2016). Facial Wipes don't Wash: Facial Image Comparison by Video Superimposition Reduces the Accuracy of Face Matching Decisions. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30(4) pp. 504–513.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3218

Abstract

In cases of disputed CCTV identification, expert testimony based on the results of analysis by facial image comparison may be presented to the Jury. However, many of the techniques lack empirical data to support their use. Using a within-participants design, we compared the accuracy of face-matching decisions when images were presented using a ‘facial wipe’ technique (where one image is superimposed on another and the display gradually ‘wipes’ between the two) with decisions based on static images. Experiment 1 used high-quality image pairs; Experiment 2 used disguised target images; and Experiment 3 used degraded target images. Across all three experiments, rather than optimising performance, facial wipes reduced accuracy relative to static presentations. Further, there is evidence that video wipes increase false positives and therefore may increase the likelihood that images of two different people will be incorrectly judged to show the same individual.

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