Interviewing and visualisation techniques: Attempting to further improve EvoFIT facial composites
Authors: Portch, E., Logan, K. and Frowd, C.D.Abstract:
Victims of and witnesses to crime are asked to describe an offender using cognitive interviewing techniques (CI), before constructing a visual likeness of the face. The aim of the current experiment was to investigate whether composite construction using the EvoFIT holistic system would benefit from the parallel use of three enhancement techniques. The study manipulated the type of interview used to elicit a face description (CI vs. holistic cognitive interview, or H-CI) and trialled a visualisation technique for selecting faces (no visualisation vs. visualisation of external features). Also included was a new construction procedure for EvoFIT that requested constructors to focus on the region around the eyes when making face selections. Based on past research, it was anticipated that both the H-CI and external-feature visualisation would promote construction of a more identifiable composite (compared to when each technique was not used). Rather unexpectedly, the results revealed that neither technique improved correct naming of composites, yet an interaction was observed: visualisation of external features led to a benefit that approached significance when used in conjunction with the H-CI (cf. CI). However, when no external-feature visualisation was used, composites were better named following the more usual CI (cf. H-CI) protocol. Results are promising for the new method of face selection, which was used by all participants (focusing on the eye region). Indeed, in the baseline condition, where this was the only `enhancement' method used, naming of composites was 55% correct. Arguably, focusing on the character of the face during the H-CI may instate a processing style that is not well aligned with the new procedure of selecting faces according to the eye region. To overcome this misalignment of processing stages, we propose to ask constructors to focus on this region of the face during the H-CI itself. Implications for theory and police practice are discussed.
Source: BURO EPrints