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Body Language Influences on Facial Identification at Passport Control: An Exploration in Virtual Reality

Tummon, Hannah M., Allen, John, Bindemann, Markus (2020) Body Language Influences on Facial Identification at Passport Control: An Exploration in Virtual Reality. i-Perception, 11 (5). pp. 1-29. ISSN 2041-6695. (doi:10.1177/2041669520958033) (KAR id:84714)

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Person identification at airports requires the matching of a passport photograph to its bearer. One aim of this process is to find identity impostors, who use valid identity documents of similar-looking people to avoid detection. In psychology, this process has been studied extensively with static pairs of face photographs that require identity match (same person shown) versus mismatch (two different people) decisions. However, this approach provides a limited proxy for studying how other factors, such as nonverbal behaviour, affect this task. The current study investigated the influence of body language on facial identity matching within a virtual reality airport environment, by manipulating activity levels of person avatars queueing at passport control. In a series of six experiments, detection of identity mismatches was unaffected when observers were not instructed to utilise body language. By contrast, under explicit instruction to look out for unusual body language, these cues enhanced detection of mismatches but also increased false classification of matches. This effect was driven by increased activity levels rather than body language that simply differed from the behaviour of the majority of passengers. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/2041669520958033
Uncontrolled keywords: face matching, identification, nonverbal behaviour, body language, passport control, virtual reality
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Markus Bindemann
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2020 16:42 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:17 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bindemann, Markus:
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