Cognitive style, processing sets and face recall
When a serious crime is committed eyewitnesses/victims may be required to assist a police investigation by constructing a facial composite. This is a visual representation of the perpetrator’s face which can be used by the police to help generate leads in cases where there is no suspect readily apparent. Research to date has mainly concentrated on ‘system variables’ such as the comparison between different composite building systems and the ways in which they are implemented. There are presently large individual differences in the likeness (to perpetrator) quality of facial composites produced by eyewitnesses.
I am researching ways to maximise the effectiveness of eyewitness face recall in two ways. Firstly are there stable individual differences in cognitive style which correlate with the ability to produce accurate facial composites? Secondly, is there a cognitive-based intervention which may benefit all eyewitnesses during composite construction? A correlational design was employed which explored the possible link between cognitive style scores and scores of composite quality. Work in progress uses the Navon task to induce featural or holistic processing in eyewitnesses. The Navon task significantly improves face recognition, but can it do the same for face recall?
Donna A Taylor & Mark Gardner. Department. of Psychology, University of Westminster
Dr. Mark Gardner M.Gardner@westminster.ac.uk
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