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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Configural and featural information in facial-composite images
Author(s): Frowd, Charlie D
Jones, Sharrome
Fodarella, Cristina
Skelton, Faye Collette
Fields, Stephen
Williams, Anna
Marsh, John
Thorley, Rachel
Nelson, Laura
Greenwood, Leah
Date, Louisa
Kearley, Kevin
McIntyre, Alex H
Hancock, Peter J B
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Keywords: facial composite
criminal suspects
Issue Date: May-2014
Citation: Frowd CD, Jones S, Fodarella C, Skelton FC, Fields S, Williams A, Marsh J, Thorley R, Nelson L, Greenwood L, Date L, Kearley K, McIntyre AH & Hancock PJB (2014) Configural and featural information in facial-composite images, Science and Justice, 54 (3), pp. 215-227.
Abstract: Eyewitnesses are often invited to construct a facial composite, an image created of the person they saw commit a crime that is used by law enforcement to locate criminal suspects. In the current paper, the effectiveness of composite images was investigated from traditional feature systems (E-FIT and PRO-fit), where participants (face constructors) selected individual features to build the face, and a more recent holistic system (EvoFIT), where they ‘evolved' a composite by repeatedly selecting from arrays of complete faces. Further participants attempted to name these composites when seen as an unaltered image, or when blurred, rotated, linearly stretched or converted to a photographic negative. All of the manipulations tested reduced correct naming of the composites overall except (i) for a low level of blur, for which naming improved for holistic composites but reduced for feature composites, and (ii) for 100% linear stretch, for which a substantial naming advantage was observed. Results also indicated that both featural (facial elements) and configural (feature spacing) information was useful for recognition in both types of composite system, but highly-detailed information was more accurate in the feature-based than the holistic method. The naming advantage of linear stretch was replicated using a forensically more-practical procedure with observers viewing an unaltered ¬composite sideways. The work is valuable to police practitioners and designers of facial-composite systems.
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Rights: Published in Science and Justice by Elsevier; Elsevier believes that individual authors should be able to distribute their accepted author manuscripts for their personal voluntary needs and interests, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository, e-mailing to colleagues. The Elsevier Policy is as follows: Authors retain the right to use the accepted author manuscript for personal use, internal institutional use and for permitted scholarly posting provided that these are not for purposes of commercial use or systematic distribution.

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