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Understanding the multiframe caricature advantage for recognizing facial composites.

Frowd, Charlie D; Skelton, Faye C; Atherton, Chris; Pitchford, Melanie; Bruce, Vicki; Atkins, Rebecca; Gannon, Carol; Ross, David; Young, Fern; Nelson, Laura; Hepton, Gemma; McIntyre, Alex H; Hancock, Peter J B


Charlie D Frowd

Chris Atherton

Melanie Pitchford

Vicki Bruce

Rebecca Atkins

Carol Gannon

David Ross

Fern Young

Laura Nelson

Gemma Hepton

Peter J B Hancock


Eyewitnesses often construct a ‘composite’ face of a person they saw commit a crime, a picture that police use to identify suspects. We described a technique (Frowd et al., 2007, Visual Cognition, 15, 1-31) based on facial caricature to facilitate recognition of these images: correct naming substantially improves when composites are seen with progressive positive caricature, where distinctive information is enhanced, and then with progressive negative caricature, the opposite. Over the course of four experiments, the underpinnings of this mechanism are explored. Positive-caricature levels were found to be largely responsible for improving naming of composites, with some benefit from negative-caricature levels. Also, different frame-presentation orders (forward, reverse, random, repeated) facilitated equivalent naming benefit relative to static composites. Overall, the data indicate that composites are usually constructed as negative caricatures.


Frowd, C. D., Skelton, F. C., Atherton, C., Pitchford, M., Bruce, V., Atkins, R., …Hancock, P. J. B. (2012). Understanding the multiframe caricature advantage for recognizing facial composites. Visual Cognition, 20, 1215-1241.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2012-12
Deposit Date Jun 10, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 10, 2015
Print ISSN 1350-6285
Electronic ISSN 1464-0716
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Pages 1215-1241
Keywords Caricature; Face space; Facial composite; Memory;
Public URL
Publisher URL


Understanding the multi-frame caricature advantage for recognising facial composites (284 Kb)

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