Composite Research Grants

Investigating the role of movement in the recognition of identity from facial composites

Funding body: Leverhulme Trust (1/1/2016 – 31/12/2017)

Leverhulme Trust

Investigators: Karen Lander¹, Tim Cootes¹ and Charlie Frowd²

PDRA: Emma Portch¹ ³

¹University of Manchester, ²University of Central Lancashire and ³Bournemouth University

Overview

In a criminal investigation, facial composites are constructed by witnesses and victims, of people seen to commit crime. In this project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, we ‘animate’ facial composites and investigate whether this helps us recognise these faces. Faces were animated in various ways — using their own motion, exaggerated motion or using the motion of another person. We also asked people to make identity matching decisions to animated and static faces. The work should help to develop more effective facial composites (from any production system) and strategies for face matching, and to aid our theoretical understanding of how dynamic information is processed and stored.

Conference dissemination

We have presented results from the the project at the following conferences:

Lander, K., Portch, E., Frowd, C., & Cootes, T. (2016). Investigating the role of movement in the recognition of identity from facial composites. British Psychological Society (BPS) Cognitive Section Annual Conference, Barcelona, September 2016.

Lander, K., Portch, E., Frowd, C., & Cootes, T. (2017). Can animating face composites make them more recognisable? European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL), Belgium, May 2017.

Portch, E., Lander, K., Frowd, C., & Cootes, T. (2017). Animating famous face composites and the recognition of identity. Experimental Psychology Society (EPS), London, January 2017.

Portch, E., Lander, K., Frowd, C., & Cootes, T. (2017). Does animation improve the ability to match unfamiliar facial composites? European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL), Belgium, May 2017.

Changing the face of criminal identification

We disseminated results, and invited members of the public to be involved in the research, at the Science and Industry museum, Manchester on Saturday 11th November 2017. The project was funded by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC) as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. Details of event.

Practitioner Dissemination Day

The grant led to some interesting findings that we disseminated to police practitioners and an academic audience as part of a one-day workshop on 17th November 2017. We also invited seven academics to present results from their research.