Feedback training for facial image comparison

David White*, Richard I. Kemp, Rob Jenkins, A. Mike Burton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


People are typically poor at matching the identity of unfamiliar faces from photographs. This observation has broad implications for face matching in operational settings (e.g., border control). Here, we report significant improvements in face matching ability following feedback training. In Experiment 1, we show cumulative improvement in performance on a standard test of face matching ability when participants were provided with trial-by-trial feedback. More important, Experiment 2 shows that training benefits can generalize to novel, widely varying, unfamiliar face images for which no feedback is provided. The transfer effect specifically benefited participants who had performed poorly on an initial screening test. These findings are discussed in the context of existing literature on unfamiliar face matching and perceptual training. Given the reliability of the performance enhancement and its generalization to diverse image sets, we suggest that feedback training may be useful for face matching in occupational settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


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