Passport Checks: Interactions Between Matching Faces and Biographical Details

Jennifer M. McCaffery, A. Mike Burton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Matching unfamiliar faces is known to be a difficult task. However, most research has tested viewers' ability to match pairs of faces presented in isolation. In real settings, professionals are commonly required to examine photo ID that contains other biographical information too. In three experiments, we present faces embedded in passport frames and ask viewers to make face matching decisions and to check biographical information. We find that the inclusion of a passport frame reduces viewers' ability to detect a face mismatch. Furthermore, the nature of the face match influences biographical data checking—true matches lead to fewer detections of invalid data. In general, viewers were poor at spotting errors in biographical information. This pattern suggests that detection of fraudulent photo ID is even harder than current experimental studies suggest. Possible mechanisms for these effects are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-933
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Passport Checks: Interactions Between Matching Faces and Biographical Details'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this