Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The impact of external facial features on the construction of facial composites
Author(s): Brown, Charity
Portch, Emma
Skelton, Faye C
Fodarella, Cristina
Kuivaniemi-Smith, Heidi
Herold, Kate
Hancock, Peter J B
Frowd, Charlie D
Contact Email:
Keywords: facial composite
altered external-features, hair
holistic face processing
Issue Date: Apr-2019
Date Deposited: 11-Jan-2019
Citation: Brown C, Portch E, Skelton FC, Fodarella C, Kuivaniemi-Smith H, Herold K, Hancock PJB & Frowd CD (2019) The impact of external facial features on the construction of facial composites. Ergonomics, 62 (4), pp. 575-592.
Abstract: Witnesses may construct a composite face of a perpetrator using a computerised interface. Police practitioners guide witnesses through this unusual process, the goal being to produce an identifiable image. However, any changes a perpetrator makes to their external facial-features may interfere with this process. In Experiment 1, participants constructed a composite using a holistic interface one day after target encoding. Target faces were unaltered, or had altered external-features: (i) changed hair, (ii) external-features removed or (iii) naturally-concealed external-features (hair, ears, face-shape occluded by a hooded top). These manipulations produced composites with more error-prone internal-features: participants’ familiar with a target’s unaltered appearance less often provided a correct name. Experiment 2 applied external-feature alterations to composites of unaltered targets; although whole-face composites contained less error-prone internal-features, identification was impaired. Experiment 3 replicated negative effects of changing target hair on construction and tested a practical solution: selectively concealing hair and eyes improved identification.
DOI Link: 10.1080/00140139.2018.1556816
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Ergonomics on 04 Feb 2019, available online:

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Brown et al ERGONOMICS-2018-0305 Accepted.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version1.05 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.