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Facial Comparison Behaviour of Forensic Facial Examiners

Claydon, Jacky, Fysh, Matthew C., Prunty, Jonathan E., Cristino, Filipe, Moreton, Reuben, Bindemann, Markus (2022) Facial Comparison Behaviour of Forensic Facial Examiners. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 37 (1). pp. 6-25. ISSN 0888-4080. E-ISSN 1099-0720. (doi:10.1002/acp.4027) (KAR id:98983)

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Facial examiners make visual comparisons of face images to establish the identities of persons in police investigations. This study utilised eye-tracking and an individual differences approach to investigate whether these experts exhibit specialist viewing behaviours during identification, by comparing facial examiners with forensic fingerprint analysts and untrained novices across three tasks. These comprised of face matching under unlimited (Experiment 1) and time-restricted viewing (Experiment 2), and with a feature-comparison protocol derived from examiner casework procedures (Experiment 3). Facial examiners exhibited individual differences in facial comparison accuracy and did not consistently outperform fingerprint analysts and novices. Their behaviour was also marked by similarities to the comparison groups in terms of how faces were viewed, as evidenced from eye movements, and how faces were perceived, based on the made feature judgements and identification decisions. These findings further understanding of how facial comparisons are performed and clarify the nature of examiner expertise.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1002/acp.4027
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.
Uncontrolled keywords: facial image comparison, face matching, facial examiners, fingerprint analysts, novices, expertise, eye movements
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: University of Kent (
Economic and Social Research Council (
Depositing User: Markus Bindemann
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2022 22:54 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 17:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Fysh, Matthew C..

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Prunty, Jonathan E..

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Bindemann, Markus.

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