What is it about?

Facial identification based on a comparison with a photo-ID is the most standard way to prove identity at security controls. Two experiments are performed controlling for the presence or absence of within-contour facial periphery (masking) and its substitution for an average periphery image (averaging), measuring matching accuracy, reaction time and signal-detection measures d’ an C. Experiment 1 compared face matching for the original periphery in the pair, its masking and its averaging using a sample of frontal image pairs. Experiment 2 compared matches in the average condition with and without an apparent gap around internal features.

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Why is it important?

Results show that masking of facial periphery had a detrimental effect on unfamiliar face matching accuracy accompanied by an increased tendency to positive responses, while averaging composites yielded no difference as compared to the original pair. No differences were found for matching in conditions with or without an apparent gap. The results suggest that face periphery contributes to unfamiliar face matching accuracy through a holistic process which is disrupted when focusing exclusively on the innermost features; the effect is dependent on the global structure of the face image and not related to low-level details. These results should be considered in the context of improving unfamiliar face matching.

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This page is a summary of: Effects of facial periphery on unfamiliar face recognition, Current Psychology, May 2018, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s12144-018-9863-1.
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