Face averages and multiple images in a live matching task

Ritchie, Kay L, Mireku, Michael O and Kramer, Robin SS (2020) Face averages and multiple images in a live matching task. British Journal of Psychology, 111 (1). pp. 92-102. ISSN 0007-1269

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12388

Face averages and multiple images in a live matching task
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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


We know from previous research that unfamiliar face matching (determining whether two simultaneously presented images show the same person or not) is very error‐prone. A small number of studies in laboratory settings have shown that the use of multiple images or a face average, rather than a single image, can improve face matching performance. Here, we tested 1,999 participants using four‐image arrays and face averages in two separate live matching tasks. Matching a single image to a live person resulted in numerous errors (79.9% accuracy across both experiments), and neither multiple images (82.4% accuracy) nor face averages (76.9% accuracy) improved performance. These results are important when considering possible alterations which could be made to photo‐ID. Although multiple images and face averages have produced measurable improvements in performance in recent laboratory studies, they do not produce benefits in a real‐world live face matching context.

Keywords:live matching, face matching, face identification, face recognition, face averages
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C810 Applied Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C830 Experimental Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:35585
Deposited On:10 Apr 2019 14:17

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