The impact of weapons and unusual objects on the construction of facial composites
Authors: Blake Erickson, W., Portch, E. et al.
Journal: Psychology, Crime and Law
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
The presence of a weapon in the perpetration of a crime can impede an observer’s ability to describe and/or recognise the person responsible. In the current experiment, we explore whether weapons when present at encoding of a target identity interfere with the construction of a facial composite. Participants encoded an unfamiliar target face seen either on its own or paired with a knife. Encoding duration (10 or 30 s) was also manipulated. The following day, participants recalled the face and constructed a composite of it using a holistic system (EvoFIT). Correct naming of the participants’ composites was found to reduce reliably when target faces were paired with the weapon at 10 s but not at 30 s. These data suggest that the presence of a weapon reduces the effectiveness of facial composites following a short encoding duration. Implications for theory and police practice are discussed.
Source: BURO EPrints