Bruce et al

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Making A Case – How Psychology Can Inform the Investigative Process

Interviewing Witnesses


1.1 Recognising and Recreating Faces by E-fit


–    Being able to actually identify a face is key to many convictions

–    Cases of mistaken identity show that it isn’t as easy as it seems

–    Recognising familiar faces is something everyone is quite good at but unfamiliar faces are a completely different matter.


Bruce et al. (1998) The Importance of External & Internal Features in Facial Recognition




–    Sinha et al found eight important factors involved when witnesses try to reconstruct a strangers face


     Recognition is possible for familiar faces even when resolution is low

‚     The more familiar the person, the easier it is to recognise them

ƒ     Facial features are processed HOLISTICALLY (as one single unit)) which has implications for piece by piece facial reconstructions

„     Eyebrows and hairline are the most important features

…     Illumination changes influence recognition



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