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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78738 Find in a Library
Title: Critical Examination of the Photofit System for Recalling Faces
Journal: Ergonomics  Volume:21  Issue:4  Dated:(April 1978)  Pages:297-307
Author(s): H D Ellis; G M Davies; J W Shepherd
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 11
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This article reports on three experiments in Great Britain that investigated the Photofit system for face recall; the system requires a witness to select features from among many alternatives for such features as forehead and hair, eyes, nose, mouth, and chin.
Abstract: These features are black and white photographic prints taken from pictures of real faces. They are made more or less homogeneous in regard to size and skin coloring. The Photofit system has three versions: male caucasian, female caucasian, and male Afro-Asian. The experiments were designed to investigate some of the factors which affect the accuracy of photofit constructions and to evaluate and mitigate the artificiality of laboratory investigations. The first experiment analyzed the effects of intentional versus incidental viewing of a face for long or short durations on immediate accuracy using the Photofit, the second experiment examined Photofit constructions made in the presence of the target face and compared the results of a research operator and a police operator, and the third experiment compared Photofit and sketching methods for face recall when the target face was either present or absent. Results of the first experiment showed no difference in the face constructions for different groups of subjects who saw the face for either 15 seconds or 2.5 minutes. Results of the two operators in the second experiment did not differ, and these constructions did not differ from those made in the first experiment. Results of the third experiment showed that there was a slight advantage to Photofit in the memory condition and a larger advantage to sketching when the face was present. Tables and two references are included.
Index Term(s): Facial Recognition/Recall; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Suspect identification
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