Skip to main content

Feature instructions improve face-matching accuracy

Megreya, Ahmed M., Bindemann, Markus (2018) Feature instructions improve face-matching accuracy. PLoS ONE, 13 (3). ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193455)


Identity comparisons of photographs of unfamiliar faces are prone to error but important for applied settings, such as person identification at passport control. Finding techniques to improve face-matching accuracy is therefore an important contemporary research topic. This study investigated whether matching accuracy can be improved by instruction to attend to specific facial features. Experiment 1 showed that instruction to attend to the eyebrows enhanced matching accuracy for optimized same-day same-race face pairs but not for other-race faces. By contrast, accuracy was unaffected by instruction to attend to the eyes, and declined with instruction to attend to ears. Experiment 2 replicated the eyebrow-instruc- tion improvement with a different set of same-race faces, comprising both optimized same- day and more challenging different-day face pairs. These findings suggest that instruction to attend to specific features can enhance face-matching accuracy, but feature selection is cru- cial and generalization across face sets may be limited.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0193455
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Markus Bindemann
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 10:23 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 20:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year