Emma Portch

Dr Emma Portch

  • 01202 965043
  • eportch at bournemouth dot ac dot uk
  • Lecturer In Psychology
  • Poole House P120, Talbot Campus, Fern Barrow, Poole, BH12 5BB
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Following my undegraduate degree in Psychology (Royal Holloway) I completed a MSc in Forensic Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. I then moved to Leeds, where I completed a one-year research post, assessing the relationship between cognitive interviewing techniques, verbal overshadowing, and computerised facial composite construction (supervised by Dr Charity Brown and Professor Charlie Frowd). I stayed in Leeds to complete my PhD. My thesis explored the influence of (language-anchored) conceptual knowledge on the interpretation of facial expressions of emotion (supervised by Dr Charity Brown, Dr Jelena Havelka and Dr Russell Hutter). In 2016 I then joined the University of Manchester as a member of research staff and worked on a two-year project to assess whether the novel application of motion parameters improve the recognisability of facial composites (supervised by Dr Karen Lander, Professor Timothy Cootes, and Professor Charlie Frowd). I started my lectureship at Bournemouth University in January 2018.


I have two broad research interests. First, how (language-anchored) conceptual knowledge can directly or indirectly influence the visual perception of categorisable stimuli (emotional faces and objects). Second, how psychological factors can impact upon the construction and subsequent recognition of computerised facial composites (frequently produced during police investigations). I am currently involved in projects that investigate the impact of cognitive interviewing mnemonics, facial visualisation techniques, facial animation, and individual target-face characteristics (attractiveness and disguise).

Journal Articles


  • Bate, S., Mestry, N. and Portch, E., 2021. Individual differences between observers in forensic face matching. In: Bindemann, M., ed. Forensic Face Matching: Research and Practice.. Oxford University Press.


  • Parker, K., Portch, E., Frowd, C.D. and Liu, C.H., 2020. Streamlining EvoFIT composite construction: Exploring the relationship between array number and composite recognisability. In: British Psychological Society Annual Conference 30 June-1 July 2020 University of Leeds.
  • Frowd, C.D., Portch, E., Killeen, A., Mullen, L., Martin, A.J. and Hancock, P.J.B., 2019. EvoFIT facial composite images: a detailed assessment of impact on forensic practitioners, police investigators, victims, witnesses, offenders and the media. In: IEEE Emerging Security Technologies 9 September-12 December 2019 University of Essex.

Profile of Teaching PG

  • Forensic Perspectives in Face Processing

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Cultural Psychology (CUPS)
  • Biological and Cognitive Psychology (Unit Lead)
  • human-computer interaction
  • Memory and Decision-Making (MADM)
  • Final Year project (Unit Lead)

Internal Responsibilities

  • External seminar coordinator, Department of Psychology
  • L5 Year Tutor, Psychology

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • ESRC Manchester Festival of Social Science (Lander, Portch & Grogan, 2017): 'It's written all over your face: the science of Face Perception'. One0day public engagement event, hosted at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester UK.
  • ESRC Manchester Festival of Social Science (Lander, Frowd & Portch, 2018): 'Changing the face of the criminal investigation'. One-day public enagagement event, hosted by the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, UK
  • Are you a super-recogniser? (Workshop at the British Science Festival, Hull, September 2018)

Conference Presentations

  • European Association of Psychology and Law, Does animation improve the ability to match unfamiliar facial composites?, 28 May 2017, Belgium
  • Experimental Psychology Society, Animating famous face composites and the recognition of identity., 04 Jan 2017, UCL
  • Asian Pacific Conference on Vision, Detecting emotional expressions: do words help?, 14 Jul 2016, Western Australia
  • International Society for Research on Emotion, Language and Conceptual knowledge: How might the two interact to support emotion perception?, 07 Jul 2015, University of Geneva
  • 15th European Conference on Facial Expression, Measure and Meaning, Emotion perception at threshold: Does language help?, 06 Jul 2015, University of Geneva
  • Experimental Psychology Society, Does language play a direct or indirect role in emotion perception?, 08 Apr 2015, University of Leeds
  • European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP), Shaping emotion: What role might emotion words play?, 29 Aug 2013, ELTE conference centre, Budapest
  • SARMAC, The Holistic-Cognitive Interview: When is it the most effective for improving composite quality?, 26 Jun 2013, University of Rotterdam
  • BPS Cognitive Section, Investigating composite construction under forensically-relevant conditions: the effects of verbal recall, post-encoding delay and intentional and incidental face encoding on the quality of facial com, 29 Aug 2012, University of Glasgow
  • Fifth International Investigative Interviewing Conference, Applied issues in facial composite construction: the effects of verbal recall, post-encoding delay and intentional and incidental face encoding on the quality of facial composites., 24 May 2012, Toronto, Canada
  • European Association of Psychology and Law Conference, Constructing Facial Composites: Increasing the Forensic Relevance of Laboratory Research., 10 Apr 2012, University of Cyprus
  • Fifth International Conference on Memory (ICOM), Is Fantasy Proneness related to a more exhaustive memory search?, 01 Aug 2011, University of York, UK


  • PhD in Cognitive Psychology (University of Leeds, 2016)
  • MSc in Forensic Psychology (University of Portsmouth, 2011)
  • BSc (Hons) in Psychology (Royal Holloway, University of London, 2010)


  • Higher Education Academy, Fellow (2018-),
  • British Psychological Society, Member,
  • European Association of Psychology and Law, Member,
  • International Society for Research on Emotion, Member,

External Media and Press

The data on this page was last updated at 04:14 on April 13, 2021.