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Person Recognition: Qualitative Differences in How Forensic Face Examiners and Untrained People Rely on the Face Versus the Body for Identification

NCJ Number
Visual Cognition Volume: 25 Issue: 4-6 Dated: 2017 Pages: 492-506
Date Published
15 pages
Since professional forensic face examiners surpass untrained individuals on challenging face-identity matching tasks, the current study examined qualitative/strategic differences in how forensic face examiners compared with untrained people in performing identity-matching tasks by analyzing item responses (ratings of the likelihood that two images show the same person).

The study developed a novel analysis for quantifying item difficulty for participant groups and establishing group "winners" for items in conditions of interest. "Wisdom-of-the-crowds" effects were explored by fusing responses from varying numbers of participants to amplify strategic differences across groups. Results indicate that examiners used the internal face more effectively than untrained participants, but failed to exploit identity information in the external face and body. In addition, findings indicate that accuracy measures for examiners and controls must include both same-identity verifications and different-identity rejections to understand the role of perceptual skill and response bias in performance differences across participant groups. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2017