Verification of face identities from images captured on video

Vicki Bruce*, Zoë Henderson, Karen Greenwood, Peter J.B. Hancock, A. Mike Burton, Paul Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

486 Citations (Scopus)


Four experiments investigated matching of unfamiliar target faces taken from high-quality video against arrays of photographs. In Experiment 1, targets were present in 50% of arrays. Accuracy was poor and worsened when viewpoint and expression differed between target and array faces. In Experiment 2, targets were present in every array, but performance remained highly error prone. In Experiment 3, short video clips of the targets were shown and replayed as often as necessary, but performance levels were only slightly better than Experiment 2. Experiment 4 showed that matching was dominated by external face features. The results urge caution in the use of video images to identify people who have committed crimes. Superficial impressions of resemblance or dissimilarity between face images can be highly misleading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-360
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


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