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Use-inspired basic research on individual differences in face identification: Implications for criminal investigation and security

Lander, Karen, Bruce, Vicki, Bindemann, Markus (2018) Use-inspired basic research on individual differences in face identification: Implications for criminal investigation and security. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 3 (26). pp. 1-13. ISSN 2365-7464. (doi:10.1186/s41235-018-0115-6)

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https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-018-0115-6

Abstract

This journal is dedicated to “use-inspired basic research” where a problem in the world shapes the hypotheses for study in the laboratory. This review considers the role of individual variation in face identification and the challenges and opportunities this presents in security and criminal investigations.

We show how theoretical work conducted on individual variation in face identification has, in part, been stimulated by situations presented in the real world. In turn, we review the contribution of theoretical work on individual variation in face processing and how this may help shape the practical identification of faces in applied situations. We consider two cases in detail. The first case is that of security officers; gatekeepers who use facial ID to grant entry or deny access. One applied example, where much research has been conducted, is passport control officers who are asked to match a person in front of them to a photograph shown on their ID. What happens if they are poor at making such face matching decisions and can they be trained to improve their performance? Second, we outline the case of “super- recognisers”, people who are excellent at face recognition. Here it is interesting to consider whether these individuals can be strategically allocated to security and criminal roles, to maximise the identification of suspects.

We conclude that individual differences are one of the largest documented sources of error in face matching and face recognition but more work is needed to account for these differences within theoretical models of face processing.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1186/s41235-018-0115-6
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Markus Bindemann
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2018 09:41 UTC
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2019 10:25 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/69050 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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